Week ahead: Fast-track back before Senate

The Senate is poised to vote a second time on granting President Obama fast-track trade authority.

The House revived the president’s trade agenda on Thursday, passing trade promotion authority (TPA), also known as fast-track, and sending the bill to the upper chamber. Previously, a package combining fast-track with a Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) measure was derailed in the House. House Democrats voted against TAA to keep the entire package from moving forward.

The White House and Republicans are now trying again, moving each measure separately. Obama has said he wants both TAA and fast-track to reach his desk, but pro-trade Senate Dems are wary of the new plan.


Fast-track would give Obama expanded powers to negotiate trade deals by allowing him to bypass the amendment process through Congress. He wants fast-track authority so he can negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a 12-nation economic pact.

Also on center stage will be the Export-Import Bank, with its charter set to expire on June 30.

House GOP leaders appear likely to let the bank expire, with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) making no mention of Ex-Im in his legislative schedule for the week.

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) has insisted he will not move a reauthorization bill on the bank through his panel.

He and other top Republicans, including Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanPelosi slated to deliver remarks during panel hearing on poverty Indiana GOP Rep. Brooks says she won't seek reelection Indiana GOP Rep. Brooks says she won't seek reelection MORE (R-Wis.), have insisted that the bank is little more than “corporate welfare.” The bank’s supporters argue that it helps sustain U.S. jobs by financing business projects in emerging markets overseas.

Some Democrats may try to put together a last-minute long shot effort to reauthorize the bank, with some suggesting it could be attached to a trade bill.

In the Senate, a spending fight is set to flare up, with Democrats vowing to block a defense appropriations bill unless Republicans sit down to budget talks.

On Thursday, Democrats blocked the defense spending bill from coming to the floor. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Defense: Shanahan exit shocks Washington | Pentagon left rudderless | Lawmakers want answers on Mideast troop deployment | Senate could vote on Saudi arms deal this week | Pompeo says Trump doesn't want war with Iran Senators reach .5B deal on Trump's emergency border request Senators reach .5B deal on Trump's emergency border request MORE (R-Ky.) has suggested he may try again, despite the president’s veto threat.

Elsewhere on Capitol Hill, the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will have a hearing on Thursday examining allegations of discrimination at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

And on Wednesday, the committee’s special task force on terrorism financing will have a hearing evaluating the security of the U.S. financial sector.

The Senate Banking Committee will have a full committee hearing on Tuesday examining its flood insurance program. And on Wednesday, it will examine the federal government’s response to Superstorm Sandy.



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