Senate Votes to Fast Track Trade Deals
May 26, 2015
The senate voted 62-37 to pass legislation granting President Obama fast-track negotiating authority vis-à-vis trade deals.
• The senate voted 62-37 to pass legislation granting President Obama fast-track negotiating authority vis-à-vis trade deals. This power, also known as trade promotion authority, allows Obama and future Presidents to negotiate trade agreements without requiring Congressional amendments; it could only approve or reject any accord. The legislation, which grants a six year window of expedited review, is expected to lead to a quick approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Some have criticized the legislation for not being strong enough. Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) put forth an amendment that would require trade agreements to include provisions dissuading currency manipulations by other signatories. This was narrowly defeated by a 51-48 margin. However, the fast-track is expected to meet stiff resistance from the House, with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) already building a coalition with her House allies to block the bill. [The Hill]
Economic Indicators & News
• US consumer confidence rose to 95.4 in May. According to a report released Tuesday, the Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index rose modestly after a sharp decline in April, but missed economists’ estimates of a 96.1 reading. Consumer optimism about short-term outlook and jobs was mixed. [CNBC]
• Home prices in 20 metro cities rose 0.9% in March, 5% year-over-year. The S&P/Case-Shiller’s 20-City Composite saw home prices rise at a steady pace in 20 cities over the past year. San Francisco and Denver made the largest gains, with 10.3% and 10% increases respectively. [US News]
• Sales of new homes in US rose to 6.8% in April. Sales climbed after a sharp drop in March, reaching an annual rate of 517,000 in April. Shoppers have been more active in 2015 than in any time over the past seven years, with sales up 26% from last year. [Bloomberg]