House Approves First Part Of Trade Deal
The House Thursday passed legislation giving the White House’s trade policy the first push it needed.
The bill is known as “trade promotion authority” and gives President Obama broader power to “fast-track” a trade agreement with a foreign nation through Congress, who would have to vote yes or no on the agreement, rather than stall it using a filibuster.
The Senate will now handle the bill and Republican leadership along with the White House are expected to make a deal with Democrats leaning in favor of trade promotion authority.
House members voted 218 to 208 in favor of TPA Thursday afternoon, including 28 Democrats. TPA is the first step toward passing the Obama-backed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.
“Today the House continues its work to advance the people’s priorities,” House Speaker John Boehner said at his weekly press conference Thursday.
“Republicans are working with Democrats in the House and Senate to pass trade promotion authority. We’re committed to ensuring that both trade promotion authority and trade adjustment assistance pass the House and Senate and go to the president for his signature. Getting this work done is critical to expanding opportunities for American workers and American-made goods.”
“I would describe most of what’s gone on over the last three weeks as close to bizarre,” the speaker told reporters Thursday before a trade vote. “I don’t think I’ve learned anything from it.”
Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions, a vocal opponent of the trade deal, released a statement last night saying the pact will eventually encompass 90 percent of the global GDP.
“After TPP comes the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the United States and the European Union, followed by the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA), seeking as one its goals labor mobility among more than 50 nations,” Sessions said. “Together, these three international compacts encompass three-fourths of the world’s GDP. Including the nations whose membership is being courted for after enactment, the countries involved would encompass nearly 90 percent of global GDP.”
Legislation was initially planned to be passed last week, but was delayed as a result of protests from members of both parties.