House, Senate Committees Pass Trade Fast-Track Bill

US Capitol Building
The U.S. Capitol Building.
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As expected, Congress is moving quickly on the trade promotion authority bill. The Senate and House of Representatives have both passed the legislation out of committee.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Senate Finance Committee voted 20-6 passing the bill out of committee. On Thursday, the House Ways and Means Committee approved the legislation in a 25-13 vote. The next step for the legislation will be to called to the Senate and House floors for debate and a vote.

The trade promotion authority, called the fast-track, will allow any trade agreements presented to Congress to be passed with an up or down vote, without the option for amendments. The shoe and apparel industries have been watching the legislation closely as the Obama administration wraps up negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a 12 nation trade alliance.

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“We applaud both committees for passing Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation with a strong, bipartisan vote. TPA is critical to finalizing and passing the Trans-Pacific Partnership,”  said Matt Priest, president of the FDRA. “Our industry paid almost $2.7 billion in duties in 2014 — $450 million from TPP countries alone — and this agreement has the potential to save American consumers and footwear companies hundreds of millions a year in costs.”