The extension allows Republican leaders in the House to figure out how to move the legislation forward. On Friday, in a stunning rejection of Obama’s key agenda item in his second term, House Democrats voted against the trade-assistance and job-training portion of the larger trade package that was approved by the Senate weeks earlier. Because the House killed the job-assistance part of the bill, the trade promotion authority, or fast-track, powers for President Obama and customs -regulations portion of the bill were unable to move ahead despite their passage.
In an effort to save the legislation, Speaker of the House John Boehner made a motion to re-vote on the failed portion of the bill. The original deadline for a re-vote on the bill had been today.
The extension gives Republican leaders additional time to consider how to move the bill through the House. There are several options, from trying to rally support of Democrats to switch their votes to some suggestions of introducing the fast-track trade powers independent of the rest of the legislation.
Until then, the administration is in a bind as it continues to push for the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, which is nearing the end of negotiations. Industry watchers are concerned that the recent move in the House will make it more difficult for the trade agreement to be finalized.