By Daniel Pyon
As the dust settles from the midterm elections, this much is clear: the final two years of President Obama’s administration will be one of two-party control. Accordingly, journalists and pundits are busy predicting what divided government means for issues on the President’s legislative agenda ranging like immigration, climate change, tax reform, and presidential appointments in both the executive and judicial branches.
Of all these items, however, the area most likely to see substantial progress is President Obama’s goal to finalize several global trade agreements. The Obama administration is close to finalizing agreements on two major regional free trade deals: one with countries in the European Union, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (“T-TIP”); and one with major economies in the Asia-Pacific Region, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (“TPP”). Agreements would reduce tariffs, level out differences in regulatory standards, and encourage investment and trade. Typically, the administration negotiating the agreements makes an advance request of Congress to pass a bill giving the President trade promotion authority, or “fast-track authority,” to bring the agreements to the floor of the Senate without an opportunity for amendment and with only limited debate. Executive branch officials believe they need this authority to obtain the best deal, as negotiating partners will be reluctant to concede certain deal points important and favorable to American interests if Congress can meddle with a balanced, delicately crafted treaty. [Read more…] about Let’s Make a Deal