WASHINGTON – America's foremost labor federation is asking Congress to block the "fast track" authority that President Barack Obama seeks to advance trade deals being negotiated with numerous nations.
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But the Chamber of Commerce says the authority would significantly expand U.S. exports and jobs.
AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka tells a Senate committee the fast-track legislation has pitfalls. The bill would let Congress reject or endorse -- but not amend -- proposed trade deals.
In prepared remarks, Trumka says the bill would handcuff Congress' ability to influence trade agreements.
But Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Donohue's written testimony says fast-track authority is crucial to ratifying deals that would help U.S. producers reach big foreign markets.
Obama is likely to send Congress a 12-nation Pacific-rim trade proposal if he wins fast-track approval.