Trade Promotion Authority (Fast-Track Authority for Trade Agreements): Background and Developments in the 107th Congress [Updated January 18, 2002] [open pdf - 129KB]
"One of the major trade issues in the 107th Congress is whether or not Congress approves trade promotion authority (formerly called fast-track authority) for the President to negotiate trade agreements with expedited procedures for implementing legislation. Under this authority, Congress agrees to consider legislation to implement the trade agreements (usually nontariff trade agreements) under a procedure with mandatory deadlines, no amendment, and limited debate. The President is required to consult with congressional committees during negotiation and notify Congress before entering into an agreement. The President was granted this authority almost continuously from 1974 to 1994, but the authority lapsed and has not been renewed. A major issue has been the role of labor and the environment as objectives in trade agreements. Differences have been largely along party lines. […] On December 18, the Senate Finance Committee ordered H.R. 3005 to be reported with an amendment in the nature of a substitute. Full Senate action is expected early in the second session. A week earlier (December 12), the Committee had marked up the bill and had approved it subject to further amendment on an 18-3 vote. The House approved TPA [Trade Promotion Authority] bill H.R. 3005 along party lines by a vote of 215-214, on December 6, 2001."
CRS Issue Brief for Congress, IB10084
U.S. Department of State: http://fpc.state.gov/