June 30, 2015: Despite widespread opposition, the House and Senate approved Trade Promotion Authority, known as Fast Track, and the President signed it into law this week.
The Obama Administration and the Republican Congressional leadership resorted to bizarre procedural steps, extensive backroom deals and arm twisting, and even retaliation against those who opposed Fast Track, in order to force it through. (The NY Times has an interesting article on some of the politics behind passing Fast Track here)
Passage of Fast Track gives Obama enhanced powers to conclude negotiations of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), and continue advancing trade negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and other such agreements. Fast Track will limit Congressional debate over trade agreements and prevent any filibusters or amendments.
While the passage of Fast Track authority is a severe setback, the fight is not over. Fast Track severely and improperly limits Congress’s role – but ultimately Congress will still have to vote to ratify any trade agreement after the President signs it.…