Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) is evidently going to stand with McConnell on this one. “We have long said that TAA — even this scaled-back version — should be dealt with separately from the trade agreements, and that is how we expect to proceed,” a spokesman for Boehner said. And according to Reuters, at least four of the 11 Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee will vote against the South Korea Free Trade Agreement if it includes aid for displaced workers:
At least four of the 11 Republicans on the panel say they will vote against the South Korea deal if the White House sticks to a plan to include in the implementing legislation renewal of a retraining program for U.S. workers who lose their job because of foreign competition.
Those opponents include the panel’s top Republican, Senator Orrin Hatch, who is up for re-election next year and is under pressure from the Tea Party conservative movement to take a tough line on spending. Aides said Republican Senators Jon Kyl, John Thune and Tom Coburn would vote against the South Korea pact if the Trade Adjustment Assistance program, or TAA, is included in the bill, while other Republicans on the panel are considering that.
Leaving aside the merits of these particular trade deals, any expansion of trade is going to produce winners and losers. The GOP, however, only wants to acknowledge the former, while ignoring the latter, pushing through trade deals while neglecting those who inevitably wind up on the short end of the stick.