Senate Democrats handed President Obama a stinging rebuke on Tuesday, blocking consideration of legislation granting their own president “fast track” power to complete a major trade accord with 11 nations in the Pacific Rim.
The Senate vote on a procedural motion to begin debating the bill to give the president “trade promotion authority,” fell short of the 60 needed for passage. Republicans and pro-trade Democrats said they will try to negotiate a trade package that can clear that threshold.
But the vote Tuesday presented Mr. Obama what might be a no-win situation. He may have to accept trade enforcement provisions he does not want to get the trade legislation through the Senate, but those same provisions might doom the Pacific trade negotiations that legislation is supposed to boost.