Trade bills divide Obama, fellow Dems

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Associated Press

Posted on February 19, 2014 at 4:05 AM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 19 at 8:01 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House says it will continue to press Congress for "fast track" authority to speed approval of trade deals even as election-year politics makes the task harder.

The Obama administration is engaged in two difficult trade negotiations, one with Japan and 10 other Pacific nations, and the other a proposed trans-Atlantic deal with European Union nations. The trans-Pacific talks are closer to completion.

The fast track process, more formally known as "trade promotion authority," empowers presidents to negotiate trade deals and then present them to Congress for up-or-down votes, with no amendments allowed.

Such trade deals have always been more popular with Republicans than Democrats.

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