WASHINGTON (AP) – The House has delivered a stinging blow to President Barack Obama that leaves his ambitious trade agenda in doubt.
A bipartisan majority rejected a jobs retraining program Friday that was part of a Senate-approved trade package pursued by Obama.
The vote was 302-126. The measure failed despite Obama’s last-minute Capitol visit to personally ask Democrats to support him.
GOP leaders earlier said the entire trade package would fail if the retraining program died. They scrambled Friday for possible alternatives.
Obama wants “fast track” authority to negotiate trade agreements. Most Republicans support that but oppose the retraining program.
Most House Democrats oppose fast track but embrace the retraining program. But many agreed on Friday to reject the retraining program in order to scuttle fast track.