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U.S. House passes fast-track trade legislation

Updated: 06 19 , 2015 09:01
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WASHINGTON -- The U.S. House of Representatives voted Thursday to approve the so-called fast-track trade legislation that is key to concluding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, a top priority of President Barack Obama's second-term agenda.

With a vote of 218 to 208, the House agreed to grant Obama the fast-track authority, formally known as trade promotion authority(TPA), to submit trade deals to Congress for an up-or-down vote, without amendments.

This is the second time in a week the lower chamber has voted to approve the controversial trade bill, which will move to the Senate for a second vote.

The House passed the fast-track trade legislation on Friday with a vote of 219-211, but failed to approve a measure known as trade adjustment assistance (TAA), which provides relief for U.S. workers who lose their jobs as a result of U.S. trade deals with other countries.

As the TAA bill had been packaged with the fast-track trade legislation in last week's votes, both measures needed to be approved before reaching Obama's desk for becoming law.

Republican leaders in both chambers on Wednesday struck a deal to move forward the fast-track trade legislation and the TAA measure separately, and were committed to passing both measures.

"We are committed to ensuring both TPA and TAA get votes in the House and Senate and are sent to the president for signature," House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a joint statement. Enditem