U.S. Senate leader says fast-track trade bill still top priority

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 24, 2015 4:12 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday legislation to streamline the passage of trade deals through Congress remains a top priority and he hopes for progress in April.

Senate Committee on Finance chairman Orrin Hatch, a Republican, said on Monday an agreement with the panel's top Democrat, Ron Wyden, on the bill was unlikely until after Congress returns from a two-week break, in mid-April.

"I'm hoping the Finance Committee will be able to get trade promotion authority out of the committee very quickly after we come back and it's a top priority for me," McConnell told reporters.

The legislation, which would allow lawmakers to set objectives for trade deals in exchange for a yes-or-no vote, is seen as key to finalizing a Pacific trade pact.

(Reporting by David Lawder; Writing by Krista Hughes; editing by Andrew Hay)