House leaders, confident but not yet certain they have the support to pass sweeping trade legislation, are aiming to bring the package to a floor vote by the end of this week — even as they rush to resolve a last-minute hangup over how to pay for aid to displaced workers.
The vote to grant President Barack Obama fast-track authority to negotiate a massive Pacific Rim trade deal will be extremely tight by all accounts. Senior aides and lawmakers in GOP leadership are intent on scheduling the vote at the moment they believe they have the votes locked up — ideally by Friday, to spare supportive lawmakers the possibility of another weekend of attacks by trade foes back in their districts.
Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan (a Republican from Wisconsin), who’s been at the forefront of the GOP effort to round up support, said Tuesday of the current vote count, “We’re doing very well, we’re close." If Republicans want to bring the trade legislation to the floor Friday, they must decide Wednesday.
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