May 12, 2015

CNAS Press Note: Trade Promotion Authority Stalls in the Senate

By Patrick M. Cronin

Washington, May 12 – On news that Trade Promotion Authority legislation had stalled in the U.S. Senate, Asia-Pacific Security Program Director Patrick Cronin has written a new Press Note, “Trade Promotion Authority Stalls in the Senate.” 

The full Press Note is available below: 

Today's vote shows how a great trading nation like the United States has lost its moorings.  The Democrats have handed the leader of their own party a humiliating setback, but it was hardly their finest hour.  Both Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) are pressing opportunities for America to tighten its ties to this century's locus of growth.  President Obama is on the right side of history.  Yet a failure to act in the coming weeks may be the death knell of the policy of rebalancing to Asia.  

In the end one has to believe that enough members of Congress will do what is so squarely in the nation's interest.  Sometimes politicians need to demonstrate that they voted against something before they can vote for it, or perhaps a slightly altered version or context.  Even trade enthusiasts should not deny the dislocating effects of the global trading system.  Our political process has some responsibility to mitigate the most serious of those potential impacts.  There is an equal responsibility to ensure that trade is conducted on a level playing field.  In short, some who rejected TPA are not opposed to the fast-track authority, per se, but the absence of other measures to address important, if different, issues such as currency manipulation.  

If and when both TPA and TPP are passed by Congress, the dynamic Asia-Pacific region will take note of America's continuing global influence; until then, however, they will persist with a general narrative of a declining United States.  

Mr. Cronin is available for interviews. To arrange an interview, please contact Neal Urwitz at or call 301-520-5534.


  • Patrick M. Cronin

    Former Senior Advisor and Senior Director, Asia-Pacific Security Program

    Patrick M. Cronin is a former Senior Advisor and Senior Director of the Asia-Pacific Security Program at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). Previously, he was the ...