WASHINGTON (AP) — The Republican-led Senate has handed President Barack Obama a major victory by approving his request for enhanced trade negotiating authority.
The bill now faces a tough battle in the House.
The Senate voted 62-37 Friday to endorse Obama’s request for “fast track” negotiating authority. It would let him present trade agreements that Congress can ratify or reject, but not change.
Obama says fast track would improve chances for a long-negotiated trade deal with 11 other Pacific Rim nations.
Labor unions and many liberals oppose the bill. They say free-trade deals send U.S. jobs overseas.
Obama lobbied hard on trade. He phoned numerous senators, and repeatedly sent top aides to talk with lawmakers. He says U.S. products must reach more foreign markets.
Most Senate Democrats opposed the bill.
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