Senate Closer to Approving Fast-Track Trade Bill

Senate on Friday was poised to approve the "fast-track" authority that President Barack Obama says he needs to complete a 12-nation Pacific Rim trade deal central to projecting American influence in Asia. An alternative amendment, one that opponents said lacks enforcement, was approved. Even if a six-year "trade promotion authority" (TPA) bill, as fast-track is known, passes as expected, it faces a difficult future in the House of Representatives, where supporters must overcome opposition from most Democrats and some conservative Republicans. Under fast-track, lawmakers would give Obama and his successor in 2017 the power to negotiate trade deals with foreign governments knowing that Congress could offer input but only approve or disapprove the deals and not amend them.