Posted May 18, 2015
The Senate voted 65-33 to advance a Trade Promotion Authority bill, or Fast Track, opening it to votes on amendments that could last until the Memorial Day recess, according to an Agriculture article available here. USA Today also published an article available hereand New York Times here.
“The negotiating process has finally worked,” said Senator Bill Nelson of Florida, one of the Democrats who voted for TPA just two days after his party voted against the measure.
This decision comes two days after Democratic senators blocked it. This legislation would grant the president negotiating freedom to complete an expansive trade accord with 11 nations on the Pacific Rim, setting off a contentious congressional debate on one of President Obama’s top priorities for his remaining time in office, according to The New York Times.
The six-year reauthorization of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), commonly known as “fast track,” creates an expedited process to get trade pacts through Congress and is opposed by most congressional Democrats, according to USA Today.
The Senate trade debate is expected to roll into next week. If TPA passes, the House is on track to follow suit in June. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has said the bill will be open for amendment, and Democrats are likely to seek additional votes on currency manipulation as well as worker and environmental protections, among other issues.
Farm groups called on Congress to move ahead with fast-track legislation, according to Agriculture.
“For America’s farmers and ranchers to see continued export growth, we must pen deals that knock down trade barriers,” said California Farm Bureau President Paul Wenger. 
For more information on international trade, please visit the National Agricultural Law Center’s website here.