FEATURED:

Kirk: White House will ask Congress for fast-track authority this year

Ways and Means subcommittee on Trade Chairman Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyTrump gets recommendation for steep curbs on imported steel, risking trade war Business groups pressing for repeal of ObamaCare employer mandate Watchdog: IRS issued bonuses to employees with conduct issues MORE (R-Texas) asked Kirk to pinpoint when President Obama would ask Congress to restore the White House's authority to negotiate free-trade agreements and have them considered by lawmakers on an up-or-down vote with no amendments. 

Kirk said he wouldn't "handicap" when a request would be sent to Congress but said it would "have to be resolved before the end of the year" to bring the Asia-Pacific accord forward. That could mean sometime this summer, which is when negotiators have said they would like to have a final deal ready to go on the TPP. 

Legislation is needed and administration officials would consult with lawmakers to "design a thoughtful bill and move it efficiently through the trade committees," Kirk said.

Trade promotion authority expired in 2007.