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Zeldin signs on to push for a Pacific trade pact fast-track bill

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) speaks at the Conservative

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference, known as CPAC, in National Harbor, Md, on March 8, 2014. He was in the New York State Senate at the time. Credit: Evelyn Hockstein

Much has yet to play out over a prospective Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. But so far, Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) is among 26 House members who signed a March 6 letter to President Barack Obama supporting "swift action" on legislation allowing a fast track toward a pact.

Under fast-track terms, Congress decides on a negotiated deal in a no-amendment, up-or-down vote. The letter says lawmakers would need to be "closely consulted" during talks.

This puts freshman Zeldin on an early potential collision course with organized labor. Union activists oppose fast-track and condemn agreements such as NAFTA as corporate deals that export U.S. jobs.

Zeldin said March 10: "If Trade Promotion Authority [fast-track] legislation is introduced, then my vote will be determined based on the actual substance . . .  I will not support or oppose trade legislation that hasn't yet been introduced."

Which doesn't mean he wouldn't urge its being introduced.


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