President Obama will probably get stronger powers to negotiate on trade only if Republicans agree this week to two big items on a Democratic wish list.
In exchange for giving the Democratic president Trade Promotion Authority, his own party is demanding that Republicans give way on two key provisions.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is planning a vote on legislation giving Obama "fast track" or expedited powers to approve international trade pacts.
Most Democrats oppose it. Unions and lawmakers from manufacturing states say past trade agreements scythed American jobs and damaged the economy.
Senate Republicans have sweetened fast track with a provision to extend Trade Adjustment Assistance money to train workers who lose their jobs because of higher imports under a trade deal.
But Democrats want more.
Sen. Chuck Schumer, heir apparent in the Senate Democratic leadership, says he'll block the bill unless it includes teeth that will bite trading partners who manipulate currency or evade anti-dumping laws.
Democrats also insist on including the African Growth and Opportunity Act, which is up for renewal this year. This allows sub-Saharan nations to export goods including oil and clothes to America duty free. The law expires Sept. 30.
Schumer, N.Y., says Democrats will dig unless all three of their demands — trade enforcement language, African Growth, and TAA — are included.
"The idea of leaving the other three behind and just moving TPA," Schumer said, "there is a consensus in our caucus that that should not happen."
Republicans, in the majority, tell the Washington Examiner they are sticking with Trade Promotion Authority and Trade Adjustment Assistance, and they accuse Democrats of continually upping their demands. GOP aides said the other two measures would be addressed separately at later times.
"TPA and TAA will be included," Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas said, but not the other two provisions.
Most Republicans and President Obama are urging the passage of TPA, which will allow Obama to finalize the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a deal with 11 Pacific Rim countries.
Obama and Republicans, in a rare partnership, are working to get the bill passed in both chambers of Congress.
The White House has stepped up talks with House and Senate Democrats to convince them to back down.
"They are lobbying harder on this than anything since the Affordable Care Act," Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, who opposes new trade deals, told the Examiner.
Obama on Friday promoted the fast track bill in a speech at a Nike shoe plant.
"If any agreement undercuts working families, I wouldn't sign it," he also wrote to followers on Twitter.
Republicans pushed the bill in their weekly address. Rep. Tom McClintock, of California, said trade promotion authority "has been used to the great benefit of our nation."
But Democrats insist it's all or nothing. Speaking of a bill absent all four provisions, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said, "enough of us feel strongly enough that we would not allow that to happen."