Market News & Headlines >> Senate Passes Fast Track; House Battle Ahead

The U.S. Senate on Friday night passed bipartisan legislation giving President Obama fast track trade negotiating authority, a positive signal for the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and other trade pacts.

 However, fast-track, more formally known as trade promotion authority, which is seen as essential to the completion of the TPP, still faces a stiff test in the House of Representatives, with most Democrats and a block of conservative Republicans opposing the measure.  

 “The House will take up this measure, and Republicans will do our part, but ultimately success will require Democrats putting politics aside and doing what’s best for the country,” House Speaker John Boehner said in a statement.

 The Senate vote was 62-37 in favor of the fast track powers for Obama, with 48 Republicans supporting the measure along with only 14 Democrats. Under fast-track, Congress could approve or reject trade deals negotiated by the Obama administration, but could not amend them.

Most U.S. agricultural groups are in favor of granting the president fast track powers and the National Corn Growers Association was quick to praise the Senate vote and call for House approval of fast track.

“America’s farmers and ranchers are counting on the House of Representatives to step up and pass this important legislation as soon as possible,” said Chip Bowling, a Maryland farmer and president of NCGA.