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Skeptical House Democrats Still Not Sold On Trade Pact

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

And now to national politics. President Obama badly wants to get his trade agenda through Congress.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

So much so that with a package of trade bills hanging by a thread, the president showed up last night at the annual Congressional Baseball Game. He is not known for schmoozing. But Obama did pose for selfies bring beer for the winners.

SHAPIRO: The House votes later today to determine whether Obama gets trade promotion authority. That would let him more freely negotiate a trade pact with 11 Pacific Rim nations. Many more Republicans support that proposal than Democrats. Here's NPR's Juana Summers with the state of play on the House floor.

JUANA SUMMERS, BYLINE: Supporters of the trade package will need roughly a score of Democrats to vote yes today. So they supported a side deal called Trade Adjustment Assistance, or TAA. It's supposed to help workers who lose their jobs as a result of international trade. And its passage is supposed to win over Democrats opposed to the wider trade deal. But some of those Democrats aren't taking the bait. Congressman Rosa DeLauro, one of the leading opponents of the trade package, says the TAA is not enough to get her vote.

REP ROSA DELAURO: I think - I'm opposed to it. And I'm opposed to it because I don't - if we were not concerned about the tremendous loss of jobs, we also - it doesn't cover public sector employees. It is underfunded. And as far as I know, there's still a Child Tax Credit piece, in terms of the offsets. So for all those reasons, I'm opposed.

SUMMERS: Top White House officials were on Capitol Hill Thursday to meet with skeptical House Democrats behind closed doors. After the meeting, Wisconsin Democrat Ron Kind, a pro-trade Democrat, said the level of anti-TAA sentiment among members of his party was overstated.

REP RON KIND: I'll tell you this. The feedback we're getting seems a lot more positive on the Democratic side in support of TAA than what - the stories being written.

SUMMERS: House Speaker John Boehner has said it's up to the president to bring enough Democrats to prevail. Juana Summers, NPR News, the Capitol. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.