(CNN) – The Senate Thursday approved a bill to fund retraining for workers who lose their jobs because of free trade agreements the U.S. enters into with other countries.
The final vote was 70 to 27 on the bill.
Approval of the bill, known as Trade Adjustment Assistance, is the first step in a lengthy process to clear pending trade bills with Panama, Colombia, and South Korea. That's because the Obama administration has said it will only send those trade agreements to the Hill for approval after the retraining funding is in place.
That delay has angered and frustrated congressional Republicans who argue the stalled trade bills would help create jobs if they were enacted.
The measure must now clear the House although its approval in that chamber is not certain.