The U.S. House defeated a key trade-related bill that was an essential step to passing President Barack Obama's long-sought trade authority.
The House overwhelmingly defeated Trade Adjustment Assistance, which was a necessary step for the body to progress a trade promotion authority bill. The latter vote would have allowed Obama to "fast-track" his negotiated trade deals through Congress—meaning the legislative branch would only have the options to approve or reject such an agreement.
The TAA vote—126 in favor, and 302 against the motion—came after Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi announced she would be voting "no" on the measure.
Despite the failure of that proposal, the House proceeded to cast votes anyway on fast-track authority. That bill then passed the wholly symbolic vote by a count of 219 to 211.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest hailed this symbolic victory, saying "we are obviously gratified that we were able to advance that piece of legislation with bipartisan support."
Obama, meanwhile, said in a statement that he urges the House "to pass TAA without delay." He said he is ready to sign both that measure and the fast-track authority bill.
"...I urge the House of Representatives to pass TAA as soon as possible, so I can sign them both, and give our workers and businesses even more wind at their backs to do what they do best: imagine, invent, build, and sell goods Made in America to the rest of the world," Obama said in the statement.
The trade authority is a top priority for Obama, who hopes to complete a major deal with 11 Pacific Area nations.