While an apparent deal in the U.S. Senate could allow President Obama’s trade agenda to move forward, Wisconsin Democratic U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin says she has “serious concerns” about plans to grant the president trade promotion authority.
The proposal, which will essentially allow the president to “fast track” trade agreements with Asian and Latin American countries could come up for votes later this month, despite efforts by Democrats to block it earlier this week. Democrats agreed to allow it to advance though, after Republicans allowed votes on an African trade deal and a measure meant to go after countries that manipulate their currency to lower export costs.
The currency measure is not expected to gain much traction in the U.S. House though, or with President Obama. The White House has raised concerns it could damage trade talks with Pacific Rim nations.
With the fast track plan still in play, Baldwin said Thursday that she worries about moving “unfair trade deals forward,” and questioned why Congress should give up its oversight of those agreements. The proposal would allow the president to move trade agreements quickly through Congress for approval, without giving federal lawmakers the authority to amend the provisions. It also limits transparency about the negotiations over those agreements. Baldwin asked “Why would you cede power to shape and improve a trade deal, without having read it first?”