HOUSE PASSES FAST TRACK LEGISLATION BY ONE VOTE
The House Friday voted 215-214 for trade promotion authority, also known as “fast track,” which would grant the president more authority in working out international trade deals.
If trade promotion authority is passed into law, it would allow the president to work out trade deals free of Congressional tampering, subject only to an up or down vote in Congress.
“I commend the House of Representatives for passing legislation that will restore our nation’s authority to negotiate trade agreements,” President Bush in a statement.
The bill goes to committee next week before the Senate votes on it, most likely at the beginning of 2002.
“We accomplished what we set out to do — pass a bipartisan plan that both expands economic opportunities for all Americans while promoting Democratic ideals of worker rights,” said Rep. Cal Dooley, D-Calif.
Opponents from the trade community also weighed in. “By passing TPA today, the House of Representatives has missed an opportunity to provide badly needed assistance to the U.S. Textile industry,” said Charles Hayes, president of the American Textile Manufacturers Institute.
Robert J. Verdisco, president of the International Mass Retail Association, praised the House vote. “IMRA has long supported TPA, because it will allow the president to negotiate trade deals with American trading partners without the fear of killer amendments being added to each trade agreement when it goes before Congress,” he said in a statement.