Dr. Charles Hankla talks trade policy and the hurdles to getting a deal done
After the Senate’s refusal to pass trade promotion authority (TPA) on May 12, some trade advocates feared that President Obama’s ongoing commercial negotiations with Asia and Europe would die a slow death.
Yesterday’s narrow vote in the Senate to close debate on TPA – a key hurdle to final passage – promises to lift their spirits considerably, as it likely guarantees passage of the bill within the next few days, ahead of the Memorial Day recess.
The vote was interesting because it didn’t follow the expected pattern of hyper-partisanship in Congress. Rather, it pitted a Democratic president and most Republican lawmakers against the bulk of the president’s own party.
Supporters of TPA needed a relatively small number of pro-trade Democrats to tip the scales toward Obama’s trade agenda, and they achieved that through a last-minute bargain over the future of the controversial Export-Import Bank.
Dr. Charles Hankla
Associate Professor of Political Science
Georgia State University