THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: House to Take Up Fast-Track Trade Bill Again

06/18/2015

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BY: Siobhan Hughes and Kristina Peterson | 6/18/15 at 7:45 am| Source: The Wall Street Journal

House to Take Up Fast-Track Trade Bill Again

WASHINGTON—With a vote set for midday, trade advocates in the House will try again Thursday to pass legislation to give PresidentBarack Obama fast-track trade negotiating authority.

In a do-over of a vote from Friday, the House is expected to take up the measure that would give Mr. Obama and his successor the ability to present trade deals to Congress for an up-or-down vote, without amendments.

Mr. Obama has long sought the fast-track power, which is seen as necessary to securing a trade deal with 11 other nations around the Pacific Ocean and, possibly, another wide-ranging trade deal later between the U.S. and the European Union.

The bill on the House floor Thursday will be shorn of a provision to extend a program, known as Trade Adjustment Assistance, or TAA, to help workers whose jobs are lost because of production shifts overseas or import competition. Democrats have insisted on extending that program, which expires at the end of September, so moving the stand-alone fast-track bill could be a bit of a gamble.

But Republican leaders removed it this time because linking the two issues has created problems, as some House Democrats who oppose fast track voted against the workers assistance Friday—even though they support the program itself—to bring down the whole package.

They were put together in the first place because in the Senate, Democrats insisted on the workers assistance before they would support fast track. The Senatepassed the bill, 62-37, on May 22.

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