House Rejects Vietnam-WTO Legislation (But It’s Not Over Yet)
The lame-duck Republican House failed to pass legislation today that would have granted Vietnam permanent normal trade relations with the U.S., a necessary pre-condition of Vietnam’s full accession to the WTO. But the vote is by no means the end of the battle, because this vote needed an unusual two-thirds majority to bypass normal House procedures. The vote was 228-161 (the full breakdown can be found here). Another vote, requiring the normal simple majority, will probably occur on Wednesday.
Since the Vietnam bill counts as one of the “non-controversial” trade bills, it is striking that the Republicans could only muster 138 of the current 230 members to vote for this bill. But it is even more striking that only 90 out of the 202 current House Democrats voted in favor of this non-controversial bill. Free traders should not be excited about the new 110th Congress.