Congress on tight schedule for renewing key trade programs

The Senate is expected to return for part of the day Thursday, which would give it time to take up the trade preferences bill before the programs expire.

Some Republicans continue to oppose efforts to extend TAA, traditionally championed by Democrats, until the Obama administration agrees to move ahead with free trade agreements with Colombia and Panama, and these arguments could surface in the Senate late this week. However, it seems unlikely that Senate Republicans would significantly complicate passage of the bill. Instead, they might use it as a chance to extract some commitment from the administration on Colombia and Panama.

House Republicans will have their chance to do so on Wednesday, when U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk testifies on the administration's trade policy agenda.