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

Ways and Means subcommittee on Trade Chairman Kevin Brady (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.