A top Senate Democrat called the scheduling of a trade hearing for next week “premature” because there is no agreement on how to proceed on trade promotion authority (TPA) or the broader agenda. 

A spokesman for Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), ranking member on the Senate Finance Committee, said Friday that there is still work to be done on incorporating provisions on transparency and other concerns in any fast-track bipartisan legislation. 

{mosads}“There is no agreement on trade promotion authority, or other aspects of the legislative trade agenda more broadly,” said Wyden spokesman Keith Chu in a statement. 

“Sen. Wyden is continuing to fight for more transparency, more oversight and provisions to ensure American workers come first in our trade policy,” Chu said.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) on Friday announced that he would hold a hearing on Thursday to examine how Congress can help advance the nation’s trade agenda.

“Congress has a critical role in helping to advance America’s trade priorities, and this hearing will allow committee members to continue the discussion on how to best achieve those goals,” Hatch said.

“I greatly look forward to an engaging, bipartisan conversation with my colleagues to work toward enacting a strong and robust trade agenda that will expand the economy and create jobs here at home,” he said. 

Hatch has said that he expected a TPA bill to be ready by the end of the month. 

Under fast-track authority, Congress gets and up-or-down vote on any pending trade deals, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Negotiators are aiming to complete that deal sometime this spring. 

Supporters of fast-track like Hatch and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) have argued, along with the Obama administration, that the trade powers give Congress a greater say in shaping trade agreements. 

But a broad swath of House, and some Senate, Democrats along with labor, environmental and religious groups have come out in force against TPA over concerns that the new trade deals will lead to U.S. job and wage losses.

Tags Fast track Orrin Hatch Orrin Hatch Paul Ryan Ron Wyden Ron Wyden Senate Finance Committee Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

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