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VOL. 40 | NO. 28 | Friday, July 8, 2016

McConnell says "slim" chance of vote on trade deal in 2016

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says "the chances are pretty slim" that the Senate will vote on a sweeping trade deal between the United States and Pacific Rim nations this year.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership would erase many tariffs and other trade barriers between the U.S. and 11 other nations. Both Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican rival Donald Trump have opposed it, as have many lawmakers concerned that it will take jobs away from Americans.

The trade pact has been one of President Barack Obama's priorities during his last year in office. Supporters of the pact have hoped Congress might take it up after the election and before the congressional session ends at the end of the year, since the next president is unlikely to be supportive

McConnell, R-Ky., told reporters Tuesday that he hasn't decided yet whether the Senate will take it up, but it's unlikely.

"With both the Democratic and Republican candidates for president opposing the agreement, it's probably not the best time to be considering the agreement," he said.

Congress approved legislation last year that allows the measure to be approved by a simple majority without opportunities to amend it. That authority passed just 219-211 in the House, signaling problems ahead for the pact.

McConnell noted that even if Congress doesn't act this year, the authority continues through the next president.

"It's still out there to be considered or modified," he said.

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