By: DOUG PALMER | 5/14/15 2:38 PM EDT | Source: Politico
The Senate voted Thursday to start debate on key trade legislation to “fast-track” a landmark Asia-Pacific free trade deal, reversing an embarrassing setback for President Barack Obama earlier this week and setting the stage for approval of the bill as soon as Memorial Day.
“It’s been years, decades even, since we’ve had a real debate over U.S. trade policy on the Senate floor,” Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch said. “And I’m quite certain that we’ve got a spirited debate ahead of all us.”
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With the help of 13 Democrats, Senate Republicans overcame opposition from Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and began consideration of the trade promotion authority legislation, which would allow Obama to submit the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement to Congress for straight up-or-down votes without any amendments.