McConnell Moves to Give Trade Authority to Obama

The process of granting President Obama “fast-track” authority on trade agreements began Wednesday with a procedural move in the Senate, The Hill reported.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made a motion to consider House legislation on tax exemptions. Senators plan to attach the fast-track language to that bill, which if approved by both houses would give Obama the power to negotiate trade bills without congressional interference. Lawmakers would not be allowed to alter the terms of any agreement the administration reaches.

At issue is the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which representatives of 11 nations are negotiating. The fast-track legislation reportedly would aid in completing the deal, which both the president and the Republican-controlled Congress favor.

However, progressive Democrats are wary of giving any president such power. They compare the TPP with the controversial North American Free Trade Agreement. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has vowed to block fast-track legislation because she believes it would harm U.S. workers.

McConnell countered: “This bipartisan bill is about … delivering prosperity for the middle class and supporting jobs.”

A vote on the legislation will not happen until after Congress approves a measure stipulating that lawmakers must approve any nuclear accord the administration negotiates with Iran, according to The Hill.

Photo: I Health Care Updates

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