House Could Vote on Fast-Track Trade Bill Friday

June 10, 2015

U.S. lawmakers have reached a deal on funding to help workers who lose their jobs due to trade, possibly paving the way for a vote on legislation key to President Barack Obama’s signature Pacific trade pact as early as Friday.

Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives had made progress on legislation related to a controversial fast-track trade bill, a House Republican leadership aide said on Wednesday, although there was still work to be done.

A congressional source familiar with the talks said lawmakers had agreed on a new way to pay for a program important to Democrats, which helps workers who lose their jobs as a result of trade deals.

The source, who asked not to be identified, said lawmakers would pay for the 10-year, $2.7 billion Trade Adjustment Assistance program partly by cracking down on some illegal tax activities, instead of through cuts to the Medicare health insurance program for the elderly.

The savings involve better enforcement of fraudulent claims of tax deductions for higher education and raising the penalties against businesses who fail to accurately file tax returns.

The deal could help clear the way for a vote this week or next on fast-track trade negotiating authority for Obama, which he needs to complete the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership.

A House panel later on Wednesday will consider the procedure to be used to debate four trade bills including fast-track, which would allow lawmakers to set negotiating objectives for trade deals but prevent them from amending the final agreement.

(Reporting by Richard Cowan; Editing by Susan Heavey, Doina Chiacu and W Simon)

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Latest Comments

  • June 11, 2015 at 12:43 pm
    Captain Planet says:
    Trish, I hear you. This is the worst endeavor President Obama has backed. Didn't he learn from Clinton and Reagan? Don't we have enough of a trade deficit? President Obama has... read more
  • June 11, 2015 at 10:11 am
    Agent says:
    Good one Dave. I think we can agree that any deal worked out by politicians in private without informing the public is bad policy. Lawmakers voting on a bill without reading... read more
  • June 10, 2015 at 6:48 pm
    Dave Francis says:
    WHAT THERE KEEPING UNDER WRAPS WITH THE TRADE DEAL? BOTH POLITICAL PARTIES ARE GUILTY IF THEY PASS THIS ‘FAST TRACK’ TRADE DEAL WITHOUT AMENDMENTS. Are you even aware abou... read more

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