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September 22, 2014

Congress Adjourns, but Could Debate Trade Promotion Authority Later This Year

The U.S. House and Senate late last week adjourned for an extended fall recess before the election. While lawmakers finished work on a short-term fiscal year 2015 continuing resolution that will keep the federal government operating until mid-December, and the House passed a bipartisan bill that would create a series of manufacturing innovation centers, lawmakers also failed to check off several items from their to-do list. Those items include legislation to renew the more than 50 tax provisions that expired at the end of last year, to extend the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act and to address the child migrant crisis plaguing the nation’s southern border. Lawmakers are expected to take up these issues, along with a longer-term fiscal year 2015 funding resolution, when they return for a “lame duck” session after the Nov. 4 elections. According to World Trade Daily (subscription required), House Ways and Means Committee Chairman David Camp (R-Mich.) also suggested Congress could take up reauthorization of Trade Promotion Authority, or fast track negotiating authority for free trade agreements, during the lame duck session. (The Capitol Hill newspaper Politico disagreed, however, and said the chances of TPA passage later this year are very remote and that TPA may not even move forward if Republicans take over the U.S. Senate for the next Congress.) As Connecting the Dots has noted in the past, MSCI supports fast-track trade authority as long as it includes strong provisions to address currency manipulation. Stayed tuned for more information on TPA as this debate moves forward.