McConnell ranks trade, Iran bills as biggest wins of 114th Congress

McConnell ranks trade, Iran bills as biggest wins of 114th Congress
Fast-track trade authority and legislation requiring Congress to review a nuclear deal with Iran will likely serve as Congress’s biggest accomplishments before the 2016 election, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellTea Party chief on McConnellCare: Amend it or kill it GOP senator: 'Everybody wants to get to yes' on healthcare Paul: ‘I get the sense we’re still at an impasse’ on healthcare MORE (R-Ky.) said Tuesday.
 
“When we look back on this Congress, with the possible exception of the Iran nuclear issue, putting America back in the trade business could be the biggest accomplishment of this Congress,” he told reporters.
 
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McConnell said he was highly encouraged by the passage of Trade Promotion Authority out of the Finance Committee by a 20-6 vote last week, and pledged to bring it to the floor “very soon.”
 
He argued fast-track authority does more than empower President Obama, something that has become a sticking point with conservative activists.
 
“This is a six-year deal. It means the next president, whoever that is, can be engaged with the rest of the world in trying to promote American exports, and I think that’s important for our country,” he said.
 
The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, which was crafted by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), is pending on the Senate floor.
 
GOP sources say McConnell plans to proceed next to the Senate-House budget conference report before bringing trade legislation to the floor.
 
The GOP leader said he would give colleagues wide latitude to offer amendments to the Iran bill, knocking down speculation that he could try to block efforts to change the bill in order to preserve its chances of passing.
 
“I said a year ago that if we were given the majority, we would on most occasions have an open amendment process, and I think that certainly applies to an issue of this magnitude,” he said.
 
McConnell said it’s been a new experience for many senators “but I think they’ve been able to survive it.”
 
He said there should be a “full and open and robust amendment process.”
 
Cardin said earlier Tuesday that he expects non-germane amendments offered to the Iran bill will need 60 votes to win approval.