Bill key to Obama trade agenda in Asia, Europe, faces some stiff Democrat opposition

WASHINGTON – Bipartisan legislation key to the Obama administration’s trade agenda is being welcomed by business but faces some stiff opposition from within the Democratic Party.

A bill to grant the president “fast track” authority for negotiating trade deals was introduced Thursday, co-sponsored by a senior Democrat and Republicans.

Fast track assures that the administration can negotiate trade deals that Congress can accept or reject but cannot change.

It would be key to adoption of a trans-Pacific trade agreement the U.S. is closing in on with 11 other nations.

But Rep. Sander Levin, the top Democrat on the House committee overseeing trade, quickly announced his opposition to the legislation, saying it should stipulate a more active advisory role for Congress and tackle currency manipulation.

The White House welcomed the bipartisan bill.