Market News & Headlines >> Fast-Track Trade Bill Suffers Setback

Legislation that would grant President Obama fast-track trade negotiation authority suffered a key setback in the U.S. Senate on Tuesday when backers failed in an effort to limit debate on the measure.

The Senate voted 52-45 in favor of limiting debate, but 60 votes were needed to invoke cloture and prevent opponents from filibustering the bill. All but one Senate Democrat voted against cloture, which would have limited further debate on fast-track authority to 30 hours.

Under fast track, otherwise known as trade promotion authority (TPA), lawmakers would have the right to set negotiating objectives, but would be restricted to a yes-or-no vote on trade deals without ability to amend them. 

Fast-track is generally seen as critical to the chances of success for the proposed 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership and the U.S.-E.U. Transatlantic Trade and Investment partnership.

Most major agricultural groups, including the National Corn Growers Association and the American Farm Bureau Federation have been strong backers of fast track as they support these major trade initiatives.

Fast-track supporters say they will try again to advance the measure, possibly starting in the House of Representatives.