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Senate Democrats Block Obama on Free-Trade Initiative

Posted May 13, 2015

Under Economic Issues, International Trade Issues

(Michael Mathes – Agence France Presse)

US Senate Democrats dealt a stinging setback to Barack Obama, blocking a measure that would have given their own president a free hand to swiftly finalize a massive Pacific Rim trade accord.

Republicans backed Obama’s bid for the trade authority, but many Democrats felt betrayed by the measure’s failure to punish currency manipulation or include protections for American workers impacted by globalization.

The bill would have allowed Obama to submit the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) currently under negotiation, and an upcoming US-Europe trade pact, to Congress for an up-or-down vote, with lawmakers prevented from making changes. Click here to read more.

The White House says it needs such fast-track authority in order to finalize talks with the 11 other nations in the TPP, without the threat of Congress adding amendments once negotiations are complete. Click here to read more.

Related: Did Senate Democrats Just Kill Obama’s Free Trade Deal? (Time)