Tags: Senate | trade deal | Obama | Democrats

Senate Nears Trade Deal After Dems Revolt Against Obama

Wednesday, 13 May 2015 02:35 PM

The U.S. Senate appears to be closing in on a deal to begin voting on a controversial trade deal a day after a Democrat rebellion appeared to hurt the chances of President Barack Obama winning swift authorization to complete a Pacific trade pact.

A compromise being brokered between Republicans and Democrats would set up a vote on fast track trade authority with a worker assistance provision, while two other trade bills sought by Democrats, on currency manipulation and African trade benefits, would be considered separately.

A procedural vote could come as early as this week on the fast track authority, enabling a full debate on the legislation twinned with the worker assistance program next week ahead of a Senate break the following week, a Democratic aide said.

"It's absolutely essential to get this bill passed, and it needs to be passed before the Senate breaks," Senate Finance Committee ranking Democrat Ron Wyden said.

Tuesday's procedural vote saw a rebellion by all but one of the Senate's Democrats as they fretted over the impact of the proposed 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership on U.S. workers.

Democrats had also wanted legislation to punish countries that artificially reduced the value of their currencies to boost competitiveness.

Under fast-track, Congress can approve or reject trade deals negotiated by the administration but not amend deals such as the TPP, a potential legacy-defining achievement for Obama who sees the pact as part of his diplomatic pivot to Asia.

The battle over the Trade Promotion Authority has exposed rifts between Obama and powerful Senator Elizabeth Warren, an influential figure on the party's left wing.

Negotiations on the TPP are nearly complete, but trading partners have said they want to see fast-track legislation enacted before finalizing the pact, which would stretch from Japan to Chile.

That would create the biggest trade deal since the North American Free Trade Agreement liberalized business between the United States, Canada and Mexico.

© 2017 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

 
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The U.S. Senate appears to be closing in on a deal to begin voting on a controversial trade deal a day after a Democrat rebellion appeared to hurt the chances of President Barack Obama winning swift authorization to complete a Pacific trade pact.
Senate, trade deal, Obama, Democrats
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2015-35-13
Wednesday, 13 May 2015 02:35 PM
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