Lawmakers Introduce ‘Fast Track’ Trade Bill, Triggering Democratic Discord

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BY WILLIAM MAULDIN

A deal reached by lawmakers Thursday would pave the way for President Barack Obama to conclude a major Pacific trade agreement with rare Republican help, but the measure is triggering a fight within a Democratic Party increasingly opposed to liberalizing trade.
The bill, introduced in Congress Thursday, is a compromise between Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee, and is meant to ease passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership—a pact with Japan, Canada, Vietnam and other Pacific nations that the White House sees as central to the president’s economic legacy.
But first the president will have to persuade a sufficient number within his own party to join a large majority of Republicans in supporting the so-called fast-track legislation. In recent weeks, administration officials feared they may have the outright support of fewer than a dozen House Democrats.
The challenge faced by Mr. Obama was crystallized Thursday by the immediate opposition of New York Sen. Charles Schumer, likely the next Senate minority leader, who came out sharply against the president’s trade ambitions as currently proposed.
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