“I don’t think there’s anything more important for a jobs measure than China trade. That’s what we’re going to work on next week. China trade is a jobs bill. It’s long, long overdue,” he told reporters. “It’s a bipartisan bill, and I feel very comfortable we’re going to pass that.”
The bill passed the House overwhelmingly in 2010, but the politics of passing it now are complicated: Many Republican legislators support it, but Republican House leadership, namely John Boehner and Eric Cantor, do not. Reid and many Democratic legislators support it, but Obama "is not eager to confront China over its currency policy." However, Obama also has reasons not to oppose it, especially needing Reid to schedule a vote for his jobs plan:
One Senate Democratic aide said the Obama administration would be wise not to take potshots at the legislation, knowing it will depend on Reid to pass the jobs package and the trade bills.
Another Senate Democratic aide predicted the administration would steer clear of the issue regardless of Reid’s political maneuver because it does not want to oppose the popular bipartisan legislation.
If the bill passes the Senate but House Republican leadership refuses to bring it to a vote, Democrats have a weapon for their 2012 campaigns; meanwhile, Obama is likely hoping for just that outcome since it strengthens Democrats without forcing him to make a tough call.