The White House named names. And not 24 hours later, President Barack Obama and his aides had a deal to get fast-track back on track.
[Reposted from Politico | Edgar Isaac Dovere and Burgess Everett | May 13, 2015]
After resistant Democrats scuttled a vote Tuesday to move forward on one of Obama’s signature goals — authority to negotiate details of an upcoming Pacific trade pact — the president called resistant Democrats to the White House. Then his aides took the unusual step of releasing a list of which senators attended.
Democrats on Capitol Hill say the agreement they reached the next day to move forward on the legislation extracted real concessions from Republican leadership. But in the end, the dramatic gesture of voting against their own president got Democrats little beyond delaying the vote to open debate on Obama’s trade agenda to Thursday, instead of Tuesday.
What they won: a vote on a customs enforcement package that includes a measure on Chinese currency manipulation. But it’s unlikely to ever become law, in part because Obama would probably veto it if it ever got to his desk. Democrats dropped their demands that the customs and currency package hitch a ride with fast-track.
What Democrats did get was a whole news cycle about how bad things were for Obama, and how what was supposed to be an assertion of Democratic power from the minority actually ended up looking like a party that couldn’t get itself together.
White House officials said the agreement that will now open debate on the trade package on Thursday only seems like a dramatic turnaround because Tuesday’s doom and gloom was overblown. The president’s trade agenda is moving again, on its way through the Senate and off to the much more problematic House. And the president has regained the momentum.