Just after Tax Day an agreement was reached in Congress to move forward with Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) so that President Obama may complete negotiations for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), a landmark free trade agreement with 12 nations in Asia. The deal came with a unique number of restrictions on the form the TPP must follow, but perhaps the most unusual aspect of the deal is the President’s source of support: House and Senate Republicans.
The Senate Finance Committee and The House Ways and Means Committee will be working quickly this week to codify the measure and get it to the President’s desk before sufficient opposition arises to erode support. The measure has already been condemned by labor unions and Democrats in both chambers.
April 27, 2015 Update – Both the House and Senate have introduced bills. The Senate version was approved by the Senate Finance Committee and is ready for floor action. Of course, floor action is preceeded by floor debate which is where the strength of the President’s coalition will be tested. Even in a non-election year, the presidential election in the distance make votes on such contentitious issues a political force to be reckoned with. On top of that, The Trans Pacific Partnership is one of the largest free trade agreements ever, with the opportunities for agricultural exports to be pitted against the potential loss of domestic manufacturing jobs.