Nate Jackson / June 23, 2015

Congress Still Trading Blows Over Trade

Jockeying over free trade continues in Congress. Last week, the House passed Trade Promotional Authority, which gives Barack Obama the same fast-track authority enjoyed by previous presidents to negotiate a trade agreement. The trouble is conservatives don’t trust Obama to negotiate a good deal, and many Democrats simply oppose free trade because that’s what Big Labor wants them to do. The Senate’s 60-37 vote Tuesday sends the legislation back to the House one more time, where it’s expected to pass by Friday. The TPA, in short, grants Obama negotiating power and provides for Congress to then hold an up-or-down vote on whatever agreement Obama makes — without being able to amend it. Conservatives wanted to head Obama off at the pass, before a deal was even reached, rather than face the prospect of possibly not being able to block a final deal. But that fight can still happen if the GOP can stick together. That’s a big “if.”

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