(by Michael McAuliff, Huffington Post)
WASHINGTON -- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) appears not to have been swayed by President Barack Obama's State of the Union appeal to Congress to push through trade deals, declaring flatly on Wednesday that he opposes so-called fast-track authority for the White House.
Fast track, known formally as Trade Promotional Authority, essentially requires Congress to give international trade agreements negotiated by the president an up-or-down vote with no chance for amendments.
The fast-track authority lapsed during the administration of George W. Bush, and Obama would like to revive it in hopes of passing his ambitious and murky Trans-Pacific Partnership pact, which many opponents on the left and right fear will undermine the United States' ability to maintain its own labor and environmental protections.
Obama, however, made a strong pitch for the authority in his Tuesday speech, casting it as part of his bipartisan outreach and as an economic booster.