On June 18, the House of Representatives approved legislation renewing Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) on a vote of 218-208. It is important to note, however, that additional steps are needed before TPA can go to President Obama’s desk and be signed into law.
The legislation to which TPA is attached (H.R. 2146) has also passed in the Senate, but there are differences between the House and Senate versions and those differences must still be reconciled before TPA can become law. Before this happens, the Senate is likely to pass trade preferences legislation (H.R. 1295) that includes reauthorization of Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA). Although the Senate has already approved reauthorization of TAA, including it in the trade preferences bill will give House members another opportunity to vote on TAA. Last week many House Democrats rejected reauthorization of TAA in an effort to block renewal of TPA, and a second opportunity to vote on TAA may be necessary in order for TPA proponents to secure the votes required for final passage.
In summary, work remains in both the House and Senate before TPA is renewed, but this week’s House vote was a very important step in that process. Final congressional action on TPA is viewed as a critical and necessary step for completion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations and for advancing negotiations on the U.S.-EU Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).