House and Senate lawmakers are close to agreeing on a bill that would give President Obama authority to negotiate trade agreements free of congressional amendments, according to a report in Bloomberg BNA today. Congressional negotiators, who have worked for months on legislation to renew what is known as fast-track authority for the president, may introduce a bill within days. It almost certainly would not come up for a vote before year’s end, given the time left on the calendar, said staff.

The Obama administration is pressing for fast-track authority — formally known as trade-promotion authority — as it attempts to hammer out the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement with 11 other nations, in the coming days. Trade ministers from nations drafting the agreement are scheduled to meet in Singapore from December 7-9 to try to put the finishing touches on the pact before the end of the year.

Trade-promotion authority, which expired in 2007, can help the administration reach an agreement because it provides assurances to trading partners that an accord will not  be altered by Congress. Democratic and Republican lawmakers in recent weeks have bristled at the idea of renewal, saying they want more say in the Pacific accord. The United States and the 28-nation European Union, which already have the world’s largest bilateral economic relationship, have also begun talks on a separate trade pact.

Negotiations on the terms of a measure renewing fast-track authority began months ago, led by the top Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT), a backer of fast-track authority, said last month that, while he hopes to get a deal before his panel by year’s end, he is not sure the full Senate would act before 2014 begins.  In addition, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), chairman of the House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee, said it is unlikely that trade-promotion authority, or any other international trade legislation, would move through Congress before the end of the year.