House Fails to Advance TPA on First Attempt but Customs Bill Approved
The fate of legislation granting trade promotion authority to the president, and the two major free trade agreements with Asia-Pacific and European countries that TPA would likely be used to conclude, remains unclear after two House of Representatives votes on June 12. However, the House did approve a customs reauthorization bill, setting up a conference to resolve several differences with a similar measure passed by the Senate.
The House split a bill containing renewals of both TPA and the Trade Adjustment Assistance program and narrowly voted in favor of the TPA measure by a 219-211 vote. However, the TAA measure was then soundly rejected by a 126-302 vote. Options now reportedly include holding a second vote on TAA, possibly as early as June 16; crafting a stand-alone TPA bill that would have to pass both the House and Senate; or putting the Senate-passed TPA-TAA bill to a vote in the House.
The House did approve by a 240-190 vote a customs reauthorization measure (H.R. 1907) aimed at strengthening trade facilitation and enforcement. The Senate passed a slightly different version of this bill by a 78-20 vote on May 14. Differences on issues such as currency manipulation and duty evasion will have to be ironed out before a final bill can be sent to the White House for the president’s signature.