This report profiles significant legislation, from 1974 to the present, concerning presidential trade promotion authority (also referred to as TPA) for trade agreements. TPA was previously known as fast-track trade negotiating authority for the President. This report identifies significant bills and resolutions that had floor votes. Also included is a list of floor votes on implementing legislation for trade agreements, from 1979 to the present; these bills were passed under expedited procedures by Congress and signed by the President. For further discussions of TPA or fast-track legislative activity, the report lists CRS reports and Internet resources. This report will be updated as legislation warrants.
Legislative Background Information
Fast-track is an expedited procedure for congressional consideration of international trade agreements. This process is tied to the President's authority to enter into trade agreements to reduce U.S. tariff and non-tariff barriers with other countries. The fast-track authority provides that Congress will consider trade agreements within mandatory deadlines, with a limitation on debate, and without amendment, as long as the President meets prescribed requirements set out by law. The statutory provisions for "trade agreement negotiating authority" are in the United States Code, at 19 U.S.C. 2902, 2903, 2904, and 2906.
The Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act of 1934 (P.L. 73-316) established a policy under which Congress delegated authority to the President to negotiate reciprocal reductions of tariff barriers. The Trade Act of 1974 (P.L. 93-618) required more extensive consultations between Congress and the President during trade negotiations. This act also provided a new mechanism for expediting the consideration of trade agreements, which came to be known as fast-track. Table 1 shows how Congress authorized and extended fast-track authority several times in different sessions. Fast-track negotiating authority expired in 1994. In subsequent sessions of Congress, there were several legislative proposals to reauthorize fast-track authority, but these bills did not pass. In the 105th Congress, H.R. 2621 was defeated in a House vote on September 25, 1998.
In the 107th Congress, several legislative proposals on trade promotion authority (TPA) were considered. On December 6, 2001, the Bipartisan Trade Promotion Authority Act of 2001 (H.R. 3005) passed the House, with a vote of 215 to 214. Another trade bill, H.R. 3009, was introduced as the Andean Trade Preference Act; this bill passed the House with a voice vote on November 16, 2001. H.R. 3009 was amended several times in the Senate in 2002, to include additional trade issues. The Senate approved H.R. 3009, which included TPA provisions, on May 23, 2002. On June 26, 2002, the House agreed to the Senate-passed bill with its own changes pursuant to H.Res. 450. Following negotiations of House and Senate conferees regarding provisions in H.R. 3009, the House agreed to the conference report for H.R. 3009 on July 27, 2002, and the Senate agreed to the conference report on August 1, 2002. The President signed H.R. 3009, as P.L. 107-210, the Trade Act of 2002, on August 6, 2002.
This major piece of trade legislation includes provisions for the Andean Trade Preferences Act, the Trade Adjustment Assistance Program, and the Generalized …