Updated 10:08 a.m. | It looks like there might not be action this week after all to move President Barack Obama's trade agenda.
House Republicans had intended to hold a vote Tuesday to reconsider last week's failed vote on Trade Adjustment Assistance legislation, needed to send the Trade Promotion Authority bill — which passed — to the president's desk. But the Rules Committee on Monday evening put language in its rule governing floor debate for an unrelated measure — the fiscal 2016 authorization of intelligence programs — to extend the House's ability to reconsider the TAA vote up until July 30, the very last possible moment before the monthlong August recess.
This gives lawmakers and the White House seven more weeks to engage members on both sides of the aisle and determine the best course of action.
The House will vote on the rule, which includes the extension language, Tuesday afternoon.
House Republicans said Friday the motion to reconsider the tanked TAA vote would buy pro-trade Democrats four days to find the necessary votes on their side of the aisle, with Republicans unlikely to boost their 87 "yes's."
Those pro-trade House Democrats on Monday confirmed what they already knew, however: There is no way they can swing 144 "no" votes in their caucus, especially now that Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has publicly supported sinking TAA as a way to stymie TPA, which only 28 House Democrats back.
Rep. Kurt Schrader, a moderate Oregon Democrat who voted for TAA and TPA last week, told CQ Roll Call Monday night he didn't bother to make any calls over the weekend, explaining the effort to change enough of his colleagues' minds was "a losing proposition."
House Republicans could ultimately decide not to bring up TAA again at all; in the weeks ahead they will undoubtedly pursue different strategies for advancing a trade package they by and large support, working with Democratic allies and likely counterparts in the Senate.
On the pro-trade Democratic side in the House, the task starts Tuesday morning: White House officials are due on Capitol Hill early in the day to plot options with some of the chamber's 28 Democrats who want to move the trade agenda forward.
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