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Senate Grants Obama Fast-Track Trade Authority After Contentious Battle

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Senate Grants Obama Fast-Track Trade Authority After Contentious Battle

Posted: 06/24/2015 4:35 pm EDT

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/24/obama-trade-win_n_7655224.html

Read the rest of the article in the link above.

 

WASHINGTON -- The Senate made it official on Wednesday, granting President Barack Obama the power to streamline passage of major trade pacts with Pacific Rim nations and the European Union by a vote of 60 to 38.

The approval of Trade Promotion Authority doesn't guarantee the passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal Obama is currently negotiating with 11 other nations, but does make the agreement's path forward far easier by barring Congress from filibustering or amending whatever deal Obama reaches.

The fast-track bill, which was approved by the House last week, will now head to President Barack Obama's desk to be signed into law.

 

The vote to approve TPA, also known as "fast-track," was virtually guaranteed on Tuesday, after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) secured the 60 votes necessary to clear a Democratic filibuster. The final approval of the legislation comes after weeks of legislative maneuvering during which Democrats nearly derailed the bill.

Critics of the administration's trade platform had viewed the TPA bill as their best opportunity to stymie Obama's agenda. Labor unions, environmental groups, Internet freedom advocates and the overwhelming majority of congressional Democrats have battled Obama over concerns that TPP and other pending trade agreements will exacerbate income inequality and empower corporations to challenge important rules and regulations. The fast-track powers approved by the Senate on Wednesday will last for six years, making them available to the next president.

Obama, Republican leaders and corporate interests, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have pushed hard for the fast-track bill, arguing that it will lead to trade deals that boost economic growth. As one of the only areas of ideological overlap between Obama and the GOP-controlled Congress, trade may prove to be the final instance of substantive legislating in the Obama era.

 

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