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Senate Passes Free Trade Bill, House Remains Bigger Hurdle

Posted May 25, 2015

Under Economic Issues, International Trade Issues

(Stephen Dinan – Washington Times)

Senators passed the first major free trade bill in years late Friday, with more than a dozen pro-trade Democrats linking arms with most Republicans to grant President Obama a major legislative victory — and powers to conclude a Pacific trade deal.

The legislation, which cleared on a 62-37 vote, still needs House action, and that is likely to be a tougher test, with Democrats in the lower chamber less inclined toward free trade.

But the vote is still a substantial victory for Mr. Obama, who has staked his personal prestige on winning a legacy-enhancing trade deal known as the Trans Pacific Partnership. Friday’s vote was on fast-track negotiating powers, known as Trade Promotion Authority, that will allow Mr. Obama to complete negotiations on the 12-nation TPP. Click here to read more.