Some long-stalled trade agreements could move forward now that there is a new Republican majority in the U.S. Senate, but getting congressional approval for these deals may require some unusual political alliances.
The senator expected-to-be the next majority leader Mitch McConnell, and other Republicans have fought proposals by President Barack Obama, a Democrat.
But unlike many Democrats, Obama speaks in favor of trade agreements, opening the way for a deal with his Republican opponents.
“I think he is interested in moving forward," McConnell said. "I told him to send us trade agreements, [that] we are anxious to look at them.”
Trade supporters are trying to work out an agreement that would allow Congress to vote for or against trade deals reached by the Obama administration with other nations, but not allow Congress to try to change deals.
The administration and congressional Republicans are focusing on a complex and controversial bill called the "Trade Promotion Authority," or TPA.
"My guess is you will get negotiations between the administration so they are ready to go with a TPA bill as soon as the Congress comes back," said trade expert Claude Barfield of the American Enterprise Institute.
Lori Wallach of Global Trade Watch said the Republican surge means certain Democrats who were working on compromises to win the votes needed to get TPA approved were pushed out of power. That could have the ironic effect of hurting progress on a Republican goal.
"I think the chance that there is a trade authority package that can get through the House is slightly diminished," Wallach said.
U.S. officials are working on a deal with a number of Pacific nations and a separate agreement with the European Union.
Focus of new agreements
Past trade deals cut tariffs to boost trade by making it cheaper. These new agreements are also supposed to harmonize different nations' rules governing health, safety and solving business disputes.
Many U.S. unions say trade deals protect the profits of large multinational corporations, undemocratically change laws, and do too little to protect American jobs.
"We need to put citizens first, not ignore investment. We will not have economic development without [it], but not this kind of lopsided investment where citizens rights take years, if we ever address the issues," said Larry Cohen, president of the Communications Workers of America.
Obama and other supporters of trade deals say they boost the economy and help support jobs. He has signed agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama.
1.surge n. 汹涌；大浪，波涛；汹涌澎湃；巨涌 v. 汹涌；起大浪，蜂拥而来
Specialists see various reasons for the recent surge in inflation.
2.ironic adj. 讽刺的；反话的
At the most solemn moments he will flash a mocking smile or make an ironic remark.
3.lopsided adj. 不平衡的，倾向一方的
His suit had shoulders that made him look lopsided.
1.Trade supporters are trying to work out an agreement that would allow Congress to vote for or against trade deals reached by the Obama administration with other nations,
work out 解决；算出；实现；制定出；消耗完；弄懂；锻炼
Negotiators are due to meet later today to work out a compromise.
It took me some time to work out what was causing this.
“我们需要将公民放在首位，不要忽略投资。没有投资我们就不能实现经济发展，但不是这种不平衡的投资，公民们需要花费数年才有可能解决这些问题 。”美国通讯业工人协会主席拉里·科恩说 。