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POLITICS

U.S. House to put fast-track authority bill to a second vote

  • 2015-06-19 15:00:00
  • , Tokyo Shimbun
  • Translation

(Tokyo Shimbun: June 18, 2015, Evening edition – p. 2)

 

 U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner said in a joint statement issued on June 17 that they will make a full-fledged effort to hold a second vote on a bill to give President Barack Obama fast-track authority in negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact. This will increase the likelihood of the House passing the trade promotion authority (TPA) bill as early as on June 18.

 

 If the bill is passed in the House, it will be sent to the Senate for a second vote. A stalemate in the TPA enactment was predicted in the beginning, but the bill’s early enactment is now coming into view.

 

 Many House Republicans as well as Democrats were against the TPA legislation and a related bill on a program to help workers who have lost their jobs [as a result of trade liberalization] when they were put to a vote in the House at the end of last week. The related portion was voted down, leaving TPA into limbo. But fears spread within the Republican Party that this will delay efforts to conclude the TPP talks. It have become likely that the TPA portion will be put to a second vote alone, separately from the unemployment program.

 

 It was announced on June 17 that President Obama also met with House and Senate Democrats who support TPA and urged them to enact the TPA bill and the related bill that includes measures to deal with unemployment. U.S. media outlets are reporting that the remark on a second vote from the Republican Party, which controls both the House and the Senate, suggests it has likely secured the votes need to pass TPA.

 

 A rule was changed on June 16 to extend deliberation on the unemployment portion in TPA, which was voted down in the House, until the end of July. Many predicted this will cause a delay in the [TPP] schedule.

 

 Opposition to the TPP still remains strong within the Democratic Party. There will probably be more twists and turns before the TPA bill is enacted.

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