Minnesota's U.S.. Senators, Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, failed to block a vote on trade promotion authority that will give the White House more negotiating power in two international trade deals. A procedural motion to limit debate on a bill that lets the Obama administration work out particulars in the Trans Pacific Partnership with 11 Pacific rim countries and the Trans Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the European Union passed Tuesday despite Klobuchar's and Franken's objections.
The 60-37 vote provided the bare majority needed to move the bill toward an expected Thursday vote.
The bill should get final approval at that time, giving President Obama a chance to make the free trade deals he hopes will be the signature legislation of his second term. The expected passage of an attendant trade adjustment assistance bill will allow the administration to work within parameters set by the House and Senate, but make binding commitments to trading partners that the chambers can vote up or down, but cannot amend.