Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) and the Role of Congress in Trade Policy [January 23, 2015] [open pdf - 433KB]
"Legislation to renew TPA is expected to be introduced in the 114th Congress. On July 1, 2007, Trade Promotion Authority (TPA--previously known as fast track) expired. TPA is the authority Congress grants to the President to enter into certain reciprocal trade agreements, and to have their implementing bills considered under expedited legislative procedures, provided the President observes certain statutory obligations. […] TPA renewal may become a more pressing issue in the 114th Congress because current trade negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), and the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) are in progress. Technically, TPA is not necessary to begin or even conclude trade negotiations, but it is widely understood to be a key element of defining congressional authority, and of passing trade agreement implementing legislation. Therefore, its renewal can be construed as signaling serious congressional support for moving ahead with trade negotiations. Addressing congressional concerns over the definition and operation of TPA may be a central part of the debate. Although there appears to be support for renewal of TPA in Congress, the details of the legislation are likely to be subject to considerable debate, including the specific treatment of any related TAA program reauthorization. This report presents background and analysis on the development of TPA, a summary of the major provisions under the expired authority, and a discussion of the issues that have arisen in the debate over TPA renewal. It also explores some of the policy options available to Congress."
CRS Report for Congress, RL33743