WASHINGTON, June 12 (UPI) -- Despite a personal appeal to Democrats by President Barack Obama on Friday morning, the House defeated an aid package to help workers displaced by free trade, ultimately killing his chances to secure fast-track trade authority.
The House voted 126-302 against the Trade Adjustment Assistance, a measure that needed to pass in order to bring the Trans-Pacific Partnership legislation to a vote. The TAA, a program backed by Democrats for four decades, would have given assistance to workers by global trade.
The proposed TPP was intended to spur new trade and investment among the United States and 11 nations on the Pacific Rim -- Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.
Most Republicans support the deal, but many Democrats and labor unions do not -- afraid that it would send more American jobs overseas and harm the national economy. In fact, those opposed are so vehemently against the legislation that they appear to be willing to sacrifice their own federal labor assistance program to derail it.
Some Democrats, like Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., weren't willing to vote for the TAA because they didn't want this trade bill to go through.
"TAA has always been an absolute admission to me that there is going to be lots of lost jobs," Slaughter said.
Earlier Friday, Obama had met with House Democrats, hoping to give them the push needed to vote for the TAA and ultimately the TPP.
Doug G. Ware contributed to this report.