THE HILL: McConnell to seek end to trade debate

05/21/2015

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By :Alexander Bolton

McConnell to seek end to trade debate

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is expected to file a motion Tuesday to end debate on fast-track trade legislation, which could allow the controversial bill to be approved by the Senate before the Memorial Day recess.

“We’re going to press ahead with the trade promotion authority bill,” he said at a Tuesday press conference.

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) said Tuesday that McConnell has indicated he will file cloture on trade promotion authority later in the day, taking advantage of the divided Democratic caucus.

That would set up a cloture vote on Thursday that would require a supermajority of 60 votes to end debate.

Reid and the rest of his leadership team did not broach the divisive subject of trade at a post-lunch press conference, until reporters asked about it, a sign of the divisions roiling Democrats.

Democratic leadership staff has said for days that McConnell would not be able to pass trade legislation before the recess, which begins Saturday. But Reid isn’t sure he has the votes to extend the debate as he originally intended.

“We had a caucus today, and there was a robust discussion there,” he said, declining to predict whether he would have enough support to delay a quick final vote. “We’ll have to see when the vote takes place on Thursday.”

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