WASHINGTON—The U.S. Senate voted 60-37 on June 23 to invoke cloture on “fast-track” legislation, ending debate on the measure and paving the way for a vote as early as June 24.
The fast-track measure needs exactly 60 votes to pass the Senate. If approved, the legislation will pave the way for a strict up-or-down vote on President Obama's Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement between the U.S. and 11 other nations bordering the Pacific Ocean.
While many business interests support the TPP, labor unions oppose the agreement on the grounds that it potentially will move U.S. manufacturing and jobs overseas. The United Steelworkers union, which also organizes U.S. tire manufacturing workers, is one of the TPP's staunchest opponents.
In a June 23 statement, USW International President Leo W. Gerard said the cloture vote “applies grease to the wheels” to the Obama administration's efforts to complete TPP negotiations.
“Workers calling for fair trade are echoed around the globe,” Gerard said. “Our trade negotiators and those from other nations are now on notice that the TPP needs to promote the interests of working families rather than those continuing to undermine them.”