McConnell: Senate to pass fast-track soon

McConnell: Senate to pass fast-track soon
© Greg Nash

Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenators near deal on sexual harassment policy change Blankenship third-party bid worries Senate GOP Overnight Finance: Trump signs repeal of auto-loan policy | Justices uphold contracts that bar employee class-action suits | US, China trade war 'on hold' MORE (R-Ky.) said Sunday that the Senate would pass legislation aimed at facilitating pending trade agreements being sought by the Obama administration.

"Yes, we'll pass it. We'll pass it later this week," a confident McConnell said of the fast-track legislation on ABC's "This Week."

The Senate voted last Thursday to begin debate on the package, two days after Democrats in the upper chamber moved to block debate on the so-called Trade Promotion Authority, a top priority for President Obama.

The legislation would allow the Obama administration to fast-track future trade deals, including those they are currently negotiating with countries in Asia and Europe, by having Congress give an up-or-down vote.

McConnell acknowledged that some of his colleagues are "somewhat squeamish" on giving Obama the authority, "given his expansive view of his powers on so many other issues."

"But this is a Trade Promotion Authority not just for President Obama, but for the next president as well. This is a six-year Trade Promotion Authority bill that will give the next president an opportunity to enter into additional trade agreements with other countries around the world," McConnell said on ABC.

Many liberal Democrats, especially in the House, have voiced their opposition to a trade deal the administration hopes to secure with 11 other Pacific Rim nations, the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), a co-sponsor of the fast-track legislation in the House, similarly voiced optimism about the trade initiative on Sunday, saying it was "gaining a lot of steam" in the House.