Publication Date



On July 1, 2007, Trade Promotion Authority (TPA—previously known as fast track) expired. TPA is the authority that Congress grants to the President to enter into certain reciprocal trade agreements, and to have the requisite implementing legislation considered under expedited legislative procedures. Although the President has the authority under the Constitution to negotiate international agreements, typically a reciprocal trade agreement requires an implementing bill and, therefore, congressional action to bring it into force. Many Members of Congress have advocated for renewal of TPA .On July 30, 2013, President Obama requested that Congress reauthorize TPA. On January 9, 2014, legislation to renew TPA—the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities Act of 2014—was introduced in the House (H.R. 3830) and in the Senate (S. 1900). The legislation would reauthorize TPA for four years with the possibility of a three-year extension. Alternative bills may also be introduced during the second session of the 113th Congress.

Although there appears to be support for renewal of TPA in Congress, the details of the legislation are likely to be subject to considerable debate, including the specific treatment of any related TAA program reauthorization. This report presents background and analysis on the development of TPA, a summary of the major provisions under the expired authority, and a discussion of the issues that have arisen in the debate over TPA renewal. It also explores some of the policy options available to Congress.


Suggested Citation
Cooper, W. H. (2014). Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) and the role of Congress in trade policy. Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service.

A more recent version of this report can be found here: