Trade Promotion Authority (TPA): Frequently Asked Questions [May 7, 2015]   [open pdf - 399KB]

"Legislation to reauthorize Trade Promotion Authority ('TPA'), sometimes called 'fast track,' was introduced as the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 (TPA- 2015; H.R. 1890/S. 995) on April 16, 2015. The legislation was reported by the Senate Finance Committee on April 22, 2015, and by the House Ways and Means Committee on April 23, 2015. TPA requires that if the President negotiates an international trade agreement that would reduce tariff or non-tariff barriers to trade in ways that require changes in U.S. law, the United States can implement the agreement only through the enactment of legislation. If the trade agreement and the process of negotiating it meet certain requirements, TPA allows Congress to consider the required implementing bill under expedited ('fast track') procedures, pursuant to which the bill may come to the floor without action by the leadership, and can receive a guaranteed up-or-down vote with no amendments. […] The issue of TPA reauthorization raises a number of questions regarding TPA itself and the pending legislation. This report addresses a number of those questions that are frequently asked, including the following: (1) What is trade promotion authority? (2) Is TPA necessary? (3) What are trade negotiating objectives and how are they reflected in TPA statutes? (4) What requirements does Congress impose on the President under TPA? (5) Does TPA affect congressional authority on trade policy? This report describes aspects of the proposed TPA-2015 introduced on April 16, 2015."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R43491
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