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Senate Leader Harry Reid: I am against fast tracking the Trans Pacific Partnership

Harry Reid

Harry Reid, who as the leader of Senate Democrats controls which legislation is brought up for a vote, said Wednesday that now was not the time to think about bringing a request for trade promotion authority to Congress. ”I’m against ‘fast track,’ ” he said. ”I think everyone would be well advised just to not push this right now.”

The White House on Thursday put a brave face on a rebuke by the top Senate Democrat on trade policy, which will complicate its attempts to negotiate huge commerce pacts with Asia and Europe.

President Barack Obama’s plans to conclude the deals, a centerpiece of his economic and foreign policy, absorbed a blow when Senator Harry Reid came out against granting the White House trade promotion authority.

Without “fast track” powers, which mean deals agreed by the president will not be amended in Congress, Washington will find it harder to conclude pacts with key trading partners. Many labor groups oppose such deals because they would increase competition and potentially lower labor standards.

From Agence France-Presse

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