GOP-led House completes Obama trade package, but liberals vow to fight Pacific-rim agreement

Economic Indicators Associated Press

The House has approved the final pieces of President Barack Obama's hard-fought trade agenda and sent them to his desk.

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The vote clears the way for Obama's administration to wrap up negotiations on a 12-nation Pacific-rim trade deal and send it to Congress under newly approved "fast track" rules.

Congress can reject or ratify the pact but not change it.

The House voted 286-138 Thursday for a "trade preferences" bill. It includes money to retrain workers displaced by trade deals.

The retraining program normally is a Democratic priority. But it briefly became hostage to House Democrats' unsuccessful efforts to block fast track.

Unions and liberal groups say free-trade agreements hurt U.S. jobs. Obama and most GOP leaders say U.S. products must reach more markets.