President Trump formally requested a three-year extension of trade promotion authority on Tuesday. Politico says the trade promotion authority allows the president to negotiate free trade agreements that he can submit to Congress under fast-track approval procedures.
However, the request comes amid growing concerns in the Republican party over the direction of the administration’s trade policy. Trump’s message to Congress says, “I hope my administration can continue to work with Congress to pursue new and better trade deals for America’s workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses.”
Congress last passed trade promotion authority in 2015, during one of the biggest Congressional battles over trade in years. Now that the president has made the formal request, Congress has a three-month window to block renewal by passing a resolution of disapproval. Since Republicans control both the House and Senate, Politico says many viewed approval as a sure thing. But, Senate Finance Committee Chair Orrin Hatch of Utah tied the TPA renewal process to concerns that many Republicans have about the administration’s ideas on revamping the North American Free Trade Agreement.