Key political miscalculation on trade has Obama, allies, weighing a new start in the Senate

Economic Indicators Associated Press

President Barack Obama and his Republican allies on trade are thinking of restarting their legislative push in the Senate.

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It's testament to a crucial miscalculation they made months ago.

The White House and GOP leaders had assumed that congressional Democrats' eagerness to renew a job retraining program would trump their opposition to the "fast track" negotiating authority Obama seeks.

So they packaged both provisions into one bill. The Senate passed it and then the House ambushed it.

House Democrats wanted so badly to kill fast track that they sacrificed the job training program for workers displaced by trade. Pro-trade lawmakers couldn't unlink what they had linked.

Now they are reluctantly considering a time-consuming new start in the Senate with separate bills for fast track and the training program.