WASHINGTON — The Senate on Wednesday gave final approval to legislation (TPA) granting President Obama enhanced power to negotiate major trade agreements with Asia and Europe, sending the president’s biggest end-of-term legislative priority to the White House for his signature.
Senators then approved legislation assisting workers dislocated by international trade accords, attaching it to a popular African trade measure that will go to the House on Thursday for a final vote. House Democrats signaled they would support the worker-assistance measure, which they voted down two weeks ago in a tactical bid to derail the trade authority bill.
The burst of legislative action secured a hard-fought victory for Obama and the Republican congressional leadership. It kept on track an ambitious agenda to complete a broad trade agreement joining 12 countries — from Canada and Chile to Australia and Japan — into a web of rules governing trans-Pacific commerce. Negotiators will also move forward on an accord with Europe, knowing any agreement over the next six years will be subject to a straight up-or-down vote, but cannot be amended or filibustered in Congress.
Final passage does not guarantee the president’s completion of the more imminent Trans-Pacific Partnership, seen as a central element of the White House’s strategic shift toward Asia. Negotiations with Europe over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership have further to go.
Source: [The New York Times]