On June 24, 2015, the U.S. Senate passed the Trade Priorities and Accountability Act (S. 995) by a vote of 60-38. The Act, which was lobbied for by the Obama administration, now awaits the President’s signature.
Known as “fast-track,” the Act, intended to make it easier for goods to reach international markets, provides the President greater authority in negotiating trade deals. According to the Act, Congress will not have the ability to amend proposed trade agreements, but will only be permitted to vote yes or no. Additionally, the Senate will not be permitted to filibuster proposed trade agreements.
Following the Senate passage of the Act, Agricultural Secretary Tom Vilsack issued a press release stating “[t]oday the Senate helped move America closer to securing responsible agreements that open markets for America’s farmers, ranchers and agribusiness and create jobs and improve wages across the country.”
On June 18, 2015, similar “fast-track” legislation (H.R. 1890) passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 218-208.
To read the Congressional Research Service’s report regarding the proposed “fast-track” legislation, please click here.
Written by M. Sean High - Staff Attorney
June 25, 2015