Senate Finance panel talks trade


The Senate Finance Committee finally kicked off action on three long-stalled trade deals today – after a false start last week.

Finance Chair Max Baucus of Montana told his colleagues that competitors are gaining ground on the U.S. in South Korea, Columbia and Panama.


Democrat Kent Conrad of North Dakota added his thoughts.


Republican John Thune of South Dakota says the three trade agreements are “no brainers”.


Republicans boycotted a Finance hearing on the deals last week because of opposition to the renewal of the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program. The White House wants to include renewal of TAA in the implementing bill for the Korea agreement. The panel’s ranking minority member – Orrin Hatch of Utah.


Under previous rules, lawmakers can’t amend trade agreements once the White House formally submits them to Congress.