A Senate hearing to discuss the Obama administration’s ambitious trade agenda has been postponed so the panel can consider a slew of expired tax provisions.
U.S. Trade Representative Michael FromanMichael FromanOvernight Finance: WH floats Mexican import tax | Exporters move to back GOP tax proposal | Dems rip Trump adviser's Goldman Sachs payout Froman heads to Council on Foreign Relations Overnight Finance: Carson, Warren battle at hearing | Rumored consumer bureau pick meets Trump | Trump takes credit for Amazon hirings | A big loss for Soros MORE was set to testify before the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday but the hearing has been rescheduled for April 30 so the panel can deal with a tax extenders bill instead, according to a Wednesday statement.
The White House’s trade agenda has moved to a back burner on Capitol Hill while Finance Chairman Ron WydenRon WydenSenate Dems move to nix Trump's deportation order DNI confirmation hearing expected on Senate return Senate confirms Mnuchin as Treasury secretary MORE (D-Ore.) hashes out details of a trade promotion authority bill.
After taking the gavel in February, Wyden said he would take his time in talking to Senate and House lawmakers about what they want to see in a bill that would allow Congress to fast-track any completed trade agreements.
Former panel Chairman Max BaucusMax BaucusFive reasons why Tillerson is likely to get through Business groups express support for Branstad nomination The mysterious sealed opioid report fuels speculation MORE, who left Congress to become the U.S. ambassador to China, introduced legislation in January with top panel Republican Orrin HatchOrrin HatchPublic lands dispute costs Utah a major trade show Overnight Tech: GOP chairman to propose high-skilled visa overhaul | Zuckerberg's 5,700 word letter | Tech lobbies gear up ahead of internet fight Overnight Cybersecurity: Trump vows to punish leakers | Cyber steers clear of tech versus Trump fight MORE (Utah) and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.), which received a chilly reception from many congressional Democrats.
Some Democrats have expressed concern about provisions that ensure in-depth congressional involvement in the process.
To that end, Froman and several other Obama Cabinet officials have canvassed Capitol Hill in recent months to discuss details of the two massive trade pacts in the works — the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the United States and the 28-nation European Union.
Hatch is among other Republican lawmakers who have called on President Obama and his top officials to press harder for the sale of trade promotion authority legislation and completion of broader trade agenda, which they argue will spur economic growth.
Obama will take a four-nation tour later this month around the Asia-Pacific where he will meet with top leaders including Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to discuss the TPP deal among other strategic issues.
Trade experts have said that any breakthroughs between the U.S. and Japan on a variety of market access issues will be crucial in propelling the TPP talks to completion sometime this year.
U.S. and Japanese officials have continued their talks, which are being held on a parallel track to the TPP discussions, about market access issues but haven’t made much progress over sticky agricultural and auto issues.