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Jun 12, 2015

Razor-edge U.S. Congress vote to decide fate of Obama Pacific trade pact

WASHINGTON, June 12 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s
goal of strengthening U.S. economic ties with Asia will hang in
the balance in Congress on Friday when divided lawmakers vote on
legislation central to his hallmark Pacific Rim trade deal.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Obama’s 12-nation pact,
encompasses 40 percent of the global economy and is close to
completion. It would be greatly advanced if Congress gives him
“fast track” authority for it.

Jun 11, 2015

House takes key step toward ‘fast-track’ vote on Friday

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s quest for “fast-track” negotiating authority on a Pacific Rim trade deal passed its first test in the House of Representatives on Thursday, with another day of voting to come on a contentious package of bills.

By a vote of 397-32, the House approved a measure authorizing funds to help workers who lose their jobs as a result of trade deals, without cutting Medicare health benefits for the elderly to pay for it, as the Senate had proposed.

Jun 11, 2015

U.S. House navigates toward vote on ‘fast-track’ for Obama trade pact

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday will debate a package of bills central to President Barack Obama’s push for a Pacific Rim trade pact, with considerable doubt still lingering about the outcome expected by week’s end.

The core of the debate is a bill, already approved by the Senate, that would give Obama “fast-track” trade negotiating authority. He says he needs this to promptly conclude a 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal.

Jun 10, 2015

House plans Friday vote on bill key to Pacific trade pact

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Republicans aim to hold a vote on Friday on legislation key to President Barack Obama’s signature Pacific trade pact after reaching a deal with Democrats on funding to help workers who lose their jobs due to trade deals.

House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner urged both parties to back legislation to streamline the passage of trade deals through Congress in a vote his office confirmed would be this week.

Jun 9, 2015

U.S. tech industry appeals to Obama to keep hands off encryption

WASHINGTON, June 9 (Reuters) – Top U.S. tech companies are
warning the Obama administration against imposing new policies
that the companies say would weaken increasingly sophisticated
encryption systems designed to protect consumers’ privacy.

In a strongly worded letter to President Barack Obama on
Monday, two industry associations representing major software
and hardware companies said, “We are opposed to any policy
actions or measures that would undermine encryption as an
available and effective tool.”

Jun 9, 2015

Exclusive: U.S. tech industry appeals to Obama to keep hands off encryption

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Top U.S. tech companies are warning the Obama administration against imposing new policies that the companies say would weaken increasingly sophisticated encryption systems designed to protect consumers’ privacy.

In a strongly worded letter to President Barack Obama on Monday, two industry associations representing major software and hardware companies said, “We are opposed to any policy actions or measures that would undermine encryption as an available and effective tool.”

Jun 5, 2015

Malaysian jungle graves add to Obama’s trade pact headache in Congress

WASHINGTON, June 5 (Reuters) – The discovery of scores of
graves in people-smuggling camps in Malaysia is casting a shadow
over President Barack Obama’s signature trade deal as U.S.
lawmakers consider punishing trading partners that are soft on
human trafficking.

Just as Obama’s drive to win “fast-track” trade negotiating
authority for the deal entered its most sensitive stage in the
U.S. Congress, Malaysian police announced the discovery of 139
graves in jungle camps used by suspected smugglers and
traffickers of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar.

Jun 2, 2015

U.S. safety officials to testify to Congress on Amtrak crash

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Human error remains a strong focus of the inquiry into the Philadelphia Amtrak crash, but federal investigators are still digging for answers, aides said ahead of the first hearing in the U.S. Congress on last month’s deadly accident.

House Republican aides told reporters on Monday that investigators might suspect human error caused Amtrak Train 188 to hit speeds of 106 miles per hour (171 km per hour) in a zone with a 50-mph (80-kph) speed limit.

May 23, 2015

Senate votes to grant Obama fast-track power on trade deals

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama scored a major victory on Friday when the U.S. Senate voted to give him “fast-track” powers that would help wrap up negotiations on a 12-nation Pacific Rim trade deal central to projecting American influence in Asia.

Attention now turns to the House of Representatives, where opposition is deeper to granting the president power to negotiate trade deals that can be approved or rejected by Congress but not amended.

May 22, 2015

U.S. Senate closer to approving fast-track trade bill

WASHINGTON, May 22 (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate on Friday was
poised to approve the “fast-track” authority that President
Barack Obama says he needs to complete a 12-nation Pacific Rim
trade deal central to projecting American influence in Asia.

The Republican-controlled Senate narrowly rejected a push by
some lawmakers to include rules to punish currency manipulators,
a measure the Obama administration worked to defeat.
An alternative amendment, one that opponents
said lacks enforcement, was approved.

    • About Richard

      "I have been a Washington correspondent for Reuters since 2001. I have written about climate change and the environment, the U.S. Congress, politics, economic issues and agricultural trade disputes."
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