Senate Passes Fast Track Bill as Opposition Readies for Showdown

October 9, 2020 0 By HearthstoneYarns

At the tail end of a frenzied legislative week, the U.S. Senate quietly voted to pass Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), also known as “Fast Track,” a bill that would give President Barack Obama increased power to ram through trade deals without congressional input.

The Senate voted 62-37 to approve a six-year renewal of Fast Track authority. The vote was expected, coming just days after the Senate voted to end debate over the legislation and move forward with the bill, which will now go to the U.S. House for what the Associated Press says will be a “highly unpredictable summer showdown”.

About 20 Democrat-backed amendments to the legislation failed along the way, frustrating senators who oppose Fast Track as a threat to the economy and workers’ rights. “We’re not going to do that,” Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), a lead sponsor of Fast Track, said of the amendments. “Let’s face it, we’re not going to debate this all over again.”

As Common Dreams has previously reported, “Environmental, labor, food safety, public health, and digital rights groups oppose Fast Track on the grounds that it forces Congress to abdicate its policy-making responsibility while greasing the skids for secretly negotiated, corporate-friendly, rights-trampling trade pacts like the TPP [Trans-Pacific Partnership]. “

They continued to voice that opposition on Saturday. In a statement following the vote, CREDO Action deputy political director Murshed Zaheed said that supporters of Fast Track and the TPP should expect even greater resistance as those bills move forward.