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TPP reboots as House passes fast-track trade authority

The bill is now back in the Senate after dropping earlier provisions on affected worker assistance.

Nevil Gibson
Fri, 19 Jun 2015

The on-again, off-again fate of a trade bill to ensure the US meets its obligations under the Trans-Pacific Partnership has survived another round.

The House of Representatives has passed by 218 votes to 208 a bill that gives President Obama trade promotion authority.

This allows the president to submit a final bill for an up-or-down vote that is essential to ensure success for the 12-nation free trade pact.

The bill that has been approved is now back in the Senate as it drops allied measures to provide subsidies for workers said to be affected by trade.

The Senate earlier passed the trade bill with these conditions but it was later voted down by anti-trade Democrats in the House.

But the so-called trade adjustment assistance and provisions concerning Export-Import Bank subsidies remain among conditions being demanded by some politicians before both Houses finally agree on a deal for the president.

The most critical step is likely be early next week, when fast-track supporters would need to line up 60 votes to get around another procedural hurdle.

This is whether pro-trade Democrats in the Senate will provide enough votes to push the bill to the next stage.

In May, 14 Democrats joined 48 Republicans to pass the fast-track bill 62-37.

Talks over the TPP are nearly complete but have come to a standstill because the other countries are unwilling to make their best, final offers until Congress agrees it won’t interfere with any agreement.

While the Republicans can count on sufficient Democrats for the narrower form of the trade bill, both sides are heavily divided on other measures that have complicated its passage.

Nevil Gibson
Fri, 19 Jun 2015
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TPP reboots as House passes fast-track trade authority