December 5, 2013
A VITAL TOOL FOR OUR REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT:
House, Senate Negotiators Near Deal on Trade Powers (DAMIAN PALETTA And WILLIAM MAULDIN, Dec. 5, 2013, WSJ)
Posted by Orrin Judd at December 5, 2013 5:55 PMHouse and Senate negotiators are close to a deal on legislation that could streamline the Obama administration's efforts to finalize trade agreements with other countries, people familiar with the process said.A final deal had not been reached as of late Thursday, but senior lawmakers from the Senate Finance Committee and House Ways and Means Committee were close to a package, according to people with knowledge of the talks. A bipartisan deal on the measure could help the Obama administration finish negotiating and pass a trade agreement with 11 Asia-Pacific countries next year.Lawmakers are looking to renew "trade promotion authority," or TPA, a form of legislation that helps the U.S. negotiate and approve trade agreements. The timing is important because U.S. officials are seeking to clinch the Asia-Pacific trade deal as soon as this month, with meetings scheduled over the weekend in Singapore. The most recent version of TPA, frequently known as "fast track," expired in 2007, just after the Bush administration finished negotiating a free-trade agreement with South Korea. [...]Many Democrats have been opposed to renewing TPA, saying that it would cede too much power to the White House and limit lawmakers' ability to weigh in on agreements that could affect businesses and workers in their states. Meanwhile, some conservative Republicans are also skeptical of granting the Obama administration additional powers used in complicated agreements overseas.