The House cleared the first piece of the complex package of trade bills Thursday, easily approving preferences for Haiti and African countries in a move President Obama and GOP leaders hoped would pave the way for the bigger votes later this week.
Optimism abounded among free-trade supporters — though House Speaker John A. Boehner wouldn’t declare victory ahead of a Friday showdown, saying only that Republicans will provide enough support but that it’s up to Mr. Obama to deliver dozens of his own party members.
“We’ll do our part, and I hope they’ll do their part,” he said.
He’s made a number of concessions to Democrats, including changing funding for an assistance bill to help workers displaced by free trade and changing the procedures for how the multiple trade bills are coming to the floor.
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