WASHINGTON — When he’s not legislating, Senator Jon Tester, a Democrat, is a wheat, barley and alfalfa farmer in Big Sandy, Mont. That makes him a good bet to support President Obama’s trade agenda, which is generally backed by agriculture interests.
But before he signs on to anything, Mr. Tester said Tuesday, he wants to see what Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, the ranking Democrat on the Finance Committee, can come up with in arduous negotiations with Republicans.
“Oh, he’s important,” Mr. Tester, the chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said of Mr. Wyden. “He is the most important person in the caucus on this issue.”
Mr. Obama’s ambitious trade agenda — once seen as the best chance for bipartisan accomplishment in an otherwise rived Congress — appears to rest on the narrow, somewhat wobbly shoulders of Mr. Wyden, a position acknowledged by both parties and the White House with some trepidation.