AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka called the latest version of trade promotion authority legislation introduced in Congress on Wednesday "out of date, poorly conceived, and bad for American workers." He said the labor federation would "actively work to block its passage."
"It is past time for the United States to get off the corporate hamster wheel on trade. This legislation renews the undemocratic 'trade promotion' process and completely fails to provide the transparency, accountability, and oversight necessary for the far-reaching trade and investment agreements that the administration is negotiating, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership," Trumka said.
The bipartisan legislation would allow President Obama to speed up trade deals with a group of 11 Pacific region nations and the 28-nation European Union through Congress. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., said the legislation would "make sure that these trade deals get done, and get done right."
Obama endorsed the concept in a July speech and his administration has prodded Congress to adopt legislation, though congressional backers say the White House needs to lobby harder to ensure passage.
The executive branch has had this authority in the past, but the last version of the law expired in 2007.