WASHINGTON— The U.S. House Ways and Means Committee voted April 23 by a 25-13 vote to send the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act — which would grant “fast-track” authority to President Obama in negotiating the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) — to the full House of Representatives.
Under its provisions, Congress could still advise the White House on the content of the TPP. However, once the trade agreement arrived in Congress for approval, the House and Senate could only vote to accept or reject it and would be forbidden to amend it.
The Ways and Means vote came the day after the Senate Finance Committee approved the fast-track bill by a vote of 20 to 6.
The fast-track bill is supported by many conservative and pro-business groups, but opposed unanimously by labor unions.
“History has shown that previous fast-tracks are the wrong approach by Congress,” said Leo W. Gerard, international president of the United Steelworkers union, “resulting in no achievement of objectives for trade law enforcement, currently manipulation, adequate trade adjustment assistance and advocacy of worker rights in a multilateral syste