The addition of three new Republican members to the Senate Finance Committee may bolster the chances for passage of presidential trade promotion authority (TPA) in 2015. The Finance Committee is chaired by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who has listed TPA among the committee’s top priorities for this year. In a statement issued this week outlining key issues facing the committee, Hatch said:
“We must act to tear down barriers to international trade and increase market access for American goods and services. At the same time, we need to promote and enforce robust international trade rules, including strong intellectual property rights protections, so that our domestic innovators and job creators can reap the benefits of their competitive advantage and creativity. The renewal of bipartisan, job-creating Trade Promotion Authority will jumpstart a strong trade agenda that can help put America back to work.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) also stated this week that he plans to move quickly on TPA legislation. But opponents of TPA, including labor and environmental organizations and a coalition of Democratic lawmakers, are also gearing up for debate.