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Obama trade agenda moves ahead in Senate

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All but declared dead by opponents earlier this month, President Obama’s agenda on trade won a key procedural vote on Tuesday in the U.S. Senate, setting the stage for approval of the controversial “fast-track” legislation.

“This is a very important day for our country,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, after the Senate mustered the votes needed to shut off debate on the trade measure; the vote was 60-37.

The vote again showcased the upside down nature of this issue, as Republicans voted 47-5 in favor of ending debate, while Democrats voted 32-13 to filibuster the measure.

After the vote, Democrats denounced the outcome, which would pave the way for future consideration of a trade deal between the United States and a group of Asian-Pacific nations.

“It’s a great day for the big money interests, not a great day for working families,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders, an Independent from Vermont who is running for President as a Democrat.

Only one Senator switched sides from an earlier vote in late May, as Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) moved from being in favor of the fast-track plan to a vote against.

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