Congress could vote on Trade Promotion Authority as a stand alone bill as soon as Thursday, congressional sources tell the Associated Press.
The new plan under consideration would have the House vote on TPA — which would grant President Obama fast-track authority to negotiate trade deals — separately from the Trade Adjustment Assistance provision rejected last week.
The decision to split up the bills comes as House Republican leaders and the White House attempt to figure out a way to pass “fast-track” in the face of diverse opposition. As the AP reports:
Now Obama and his allies are considering something they had desperately hoped to avoid: revisiting trade legislation in the Senate, possibly after the House votes on a simplified fast track bill. It would give Senate opponents another chance to strangle the legislation with costly delays and other tactics.
According to The Hill, White House spokesman Josh Earnest did not express opposition to the move, merely stating that both TPA and TAA should be passed.
“The only legislative strategy the president can support is one that will result in both pieces of legislation arriving at his desk,” The Hill quoted Earnest.
The Hill noted that Earnest also did not offer an opinion on whether the bills should arrive at Obama’s desk as a package or stand alone bills.
“There is also this fundamental question … about whether or not they need to arrive at the same time, on the same day, as part of the same legislative vehicle or separately — that’s exactly what’s being discussed on Capitol Hill right now,” The Hill quoted Earnest.
The push for fast-track authority comes as the Obama administration hopes to advance the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an international trade deal between 12 Pacific Rim nations.