In a speech at Nike last week, President Obama asked Congress to “just do it” and pass trade promotion authority.
On Tuesday he got his answer: Nope.
The bill failed its first procedural test this afternoon largely because of the objections of pro-trade Democrats. A group, including the bill’s co-author Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), announced its opposition to the measure shortly before the bill to the Senate floor. They said they would block the bill until compliance provisions were included and other concerns about issues like customs enforcement and child labor were resolved.
In the end, only one Democrat, Tom Carper of Delaware, voted to allow the bill to move forward.
The Democratic civil war over trade has gotten increasingly ugly. Last week the White House and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) publicly exchanged barbs over the trade bill.
"There are always limits to what can be accomplished when the American people choose divided government,” Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) lamented shortly after the bill failed.