The Senate voted Wednesday to approve “fast-track” trade authority, sending the bill to the White House for President Obama’s signature.
The bill to authorize Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) passed 60 to 38, The Hill reported. A vote to end debate was held Tuesday. After the president signs the bill into law, he will be able to present any trade bill to Congress for a straight up-or-down vote — without fear of any amendments or filibusters. TPA will last until 2018 and can be extended through 2021.
“We had plenty of bumps along the road. Frankly, a few big potholes too,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said ahead of the vote Wednesday. “But we worked across the aisle to get through all of them. That’s an example of a new Congress that’s back to work for the American people.”
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With TPA’s inevitable signature, Obama will be able to present several global trade agreements to Congress. Chief among them is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade agreement with 12 Asian and Central American countries. Details of TPP have been kept behind closed doors, noted Edward-Isaac Dovere of Politico.
If you want to hear the details of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal the Obama administration is hoping to pass, you’ve got to be a member of Congress, and you’ve got to go to classified briefings and leave your staff and cellphone at the door.
Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., a staunch opponent of TPA and TPP, excoriated the bill’s passage. “The same routine plays out over and again,” Sessions said in a statement. “We are told a massive bill must be passed, all the business lobbyists and leaders tell us how grand it will be, but that it must be rushed through before the voters spoil the plan.”
President Obama, and allies in Congress, have won this fast-track vote. But, in exchange, they may find that they are losing something far greater: the trust of the American people. Americans have a fundamental, decent, and just demand: that the people they elect defend their interests. And every issue to come before us in the coming months will have to pass this test: does it strengthen, or weaken, the position of the everyday, loyal American citizen?
After TPA, the upper chamber held a vote which passed easily on cloture for a trade package renewing Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA), which funds workers affected by trade agreements.
Senate adopts, by voice vote, trade assistance measure (TAA). House will take that up next. (@JaredHalpern)
— FOX News Radio (@foxnewsradio) June 24, 2015
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