Trade Authority Heads For Early Senate Vote

By John S. McClenahen Trade promotion authority (TPA) -- which would allow Congress to approve or reject but not amend trade deals the White House makes with foreign countries -- is expected to come before the Senate soon, possibly as early as next month. The legislation is widely expected to have an easier time getting Senate backing than it did in the House, where it passed by a single vote on Dec. 6, 2001. However, one condition of approval in the Democrat-controlled Senate appears to be passage of trade adjustment assistance to compensate workers adversely affected by trade agreements. But like TPA itself, worker trade aid has been controversial, with some workers and lawmakers dismissing it as "too little, too late." What's more, on Capitol Hill, TPA is far from a done deal. Separate House and Senate bills will have to be reconciled in a conference committee before a final Congressional vote.

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