Thursday, May 14, 2015

Senate, in Reversal, Begins Debate on Trade Authority

WASHINGTON — Two days after Democratic senators blocked it, the Senate easily voted on Thursday to begin debating legislation to grant the president accelerated negotiating power to complete an expansive trade accord with 11 other nations on the Pacific Rim.
The 65-33 vote came two hours after senators gave broad approval to legislation that cracks down on countries that the United States says manipulate their currency rates, putting bipartisan pressure on House leaders to take up a measure that President Obama argues could scuttle delicate Pacific trade talks.
The trade votes on Thursday were starkly different from the first effort to take up the issue on Tuesday. Then, Senate Democrats united against even considering so-called trade promotion authority, rebuking their own president and holding out for assurances that tough trade enforcement provisions be attached to that authority.

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