Obama, McConnell Get Big Win on Fast-Track Deal

Now comes a tougher battle in the House
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 22, 2015 8:44 PM CDT
Obama, McConnell Get Big Win on Fast-Track Deal
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell walks to a Republican luncheon on Capitol Hill Friday.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

(Newser) – The Republican-led Senate has handed President Obama a major victory by approving his request for enhanced trade-negotiating authority. The Hill notes that it's also a big win for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who had declared it a high priority. The bill now faces a tough battle in the House. The Senate voted 62-37 to endorse Obama's request for "fast track" negotiating authority, which would let him present trade agreements that Congress can ratify or reject, but not change.

Obama says fast track would improve chances for a long-negotiated trade deal with 11 other Pacific Rim nations, called the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Labor unions and many liberals oppose the bill, the largest such trade bill since NAFTA. They say free-trade deals send US jobs overseas. Obama lobbied hard, phoning numerous senators and sending top aides to talk with lawmakers to make the case that US products must reach more foreign markets. Still, most Senate Democrats opposed the bill, along with plenty of other critics. (Read more President Obama stories.)

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