The Senate this morning voted to allow debate on the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) measure.  The vote required 60 yeas to proceed on the measure, and the final vote was 62 to 38. TPA will set requirements for trade agreements entered into before July 1, 2018, to receive expedited consideration — an up-or-down, simple-majority vote in both chambers without amendment.

TPA could be extended for three years, to cover agreements before July 1, 2021, if the president requests an extension and neither chamber of Congress adopts a resolution disapproving the request. The bill also includes a mechanism to remove fast-track procedures if members decide the president did not appropriately consult with Congress or adhere to the objectives in the bill.

In exchange, the bill would set congressional priorities for the administration to follow during trade negotiations and procedures intended to give lawmakers a greater role in the proceedings. Compared with the 2002 version of fast-track authority,  there would be new objectives related to labor and the environment, human rights, and digital goods.

According to Bloomberg News, the bill would establish trade negotiating objectives such as: reducing or eliminating barriers to trade and investment; fostering economic growth and enhancing U.S. competitiveness; protecting environmental and labor laws, including international child labor standards; and ensuring that small businesses have equal access to international markets.

President Obama first requested fast-track authority in July 2013. It is seen as an important factor in concluding trade deals, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership that the United States is currently negotiating, because it can assure partner countries that a deal will not be delayed or altered in Congress. The measure would also apply to other ongoing negotiations, such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) with the European Union and the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA).

A link to the roll call vote is here.