WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama’s last-minute trip to Capitol Hill on Friday to press Democrats for support on a major trade bill fell flat as the U.S. House – backed by a bipartisan trio of New Mexico lawmakers – overwhelmingly defeated the legislation.
The House voted 302-126 to scuttle a bill that would have given Obama “fast-track” Trade Promotion Authority and paved the way to approval of the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, who had not taken a position on the fast-track bill for weeks, announced her opposition shortly before Friday’s vote and urged her Democratic colleagues to help defeat the bill.
Reps. Ben Ray Luján and Michelle Lujan Grisham, both New Mexico Democrats, had voiced their opposition to the bill weeks before the vote and held firm to that position, voting against the legislation on Friday.
Democratic Sens. Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall of New Mexico both voted against the trade bill last month. Meanwhile, Rep. Steve Pearce, the New Mexico delegation’s only Republican, who had been undecided on the legislation, also voted “no” on Friday.