House passes measure offering aid for workers hurt by trade bills

House passes worker aid bill

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a measure Thursday renewing aid for American workers affected by international trade agreements.

The measure, known as Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA), was voted down in the House earlier this month—an effort by Democrats to hinder President Barack Obama's trade goals. With those attempts ultimately unsuccessful, the House approved the measure 286-138 in Thursday's vote.

Without action by Congress, the worker aid program would have expired on Sept. 30, just as the Obama administration could be trying to wrap up a 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal encompassing 40 percent of the world's economy and ranging from Chile to Japan.

Members of Congress leave the Capitol Building
Brendan Smialowski | AFP | Getty Images

The Senate passed the worker aid legislation on Wednesday. With House passage, it now goes to Obama for his signature.

The White House's priority was winning so-called "fast track" approval for its trade agreements, but the administration had at one point said Obama would not sign that bill without TAA. (The White House later reportedly indicated it planned to move forward with or without worker aid.)

Read MoreSenate passes trade 'fast track,' handing Obama victory

On Wednesday, the Senate approved the fast track bill, and sent it to the White House to be signed into law.

Fast track gives the White House the ability to present its finalized trade deals to Congress, with the legislature then only able to vote for or against the agreement—not amend the terms.

Most trade experts interviewed by CNBC say that potential trade partners would be unwilling to sign onto an agreement without fast track: They fear Congress would attempt to disassemble hard-fought compromises.

—Reuters contributed to this report.