Divide over "Fast Track" Deepens Among US Lawmakers
US lawmakers in the House of Representatives are growing increasingly divided over whether to renew "Trade Promotion Authority," a provision essential to ratifying deals such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the proposed US-EU trade pact.
Reports emerged on Tuesday that nearly half of the US House of Representatives' 435 members, from both sides of the aisle, have taken issue with renewing the provision, which expired in 2007. With Trade Promotion Authority, also known as "fast track," the executive branch can submit negotiated trade deals to Congress for straight up-or-down votes, without amendments.
Specific concerns that dissenting lawmakers have raised include whether Congress will have sufficient input into the crafting of new trade deals, and how to account for any adverse impacts such pacts may have on US workers and businesses.
US Trade Representative Mike Froman, as well as the leaders of the Senate Finance Committee, have lately been pushing for renewing "fast track" in the near future, particularly given the efforts of US trade negotiators and their foreign counterparts to conclude the TPP negotiations by the end of this year. (See Bridges Weekly, 13 November 2013).
ICTSD reporting; "House Stalls Trade Pact Momentum," THE NEW YORK TIMES, 12 November 2013; "Tea Party Joins Liberals In Push Against Fast-Track Trade," BLOOMBERG, 13 November 2013.