TPP – Draft SAA Submitted. Friday’s notification reaffirmed the Obama Administration’s intent to push for Congress to approve the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal before the end of the year. The text of the draft Statement of Administrative Action (SAA), which sets out the President’s plans for implementation of the deal, is required to be submitted at least 30 days before formal submission of TPP’s implementing legislation to Congress. The SAA does not start fast-track procedures under Trade Promotion Authority – submission of the implementing legislation does. Thus, the action does not begin the formal window for Congress’ consideration of the deal; it merely serves as a signal of intent.

Some Members of Congress pushed back on the Administration’s move. Notably, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) called on Democratic Party leaders to oppose a lame-duck vote on what he characterizes as a “job-killing trade deal.” House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) have previously stated that the deal will not get the votes it needs to pass in Congress until the Administration addresses outstanding concerns, including those related to biologics and tobacco.

Ex-Im Bank – Urging a Swift Senate Vote. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) wrote to Senate Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) in another attempt to revive the long-running push to get a quorum restored on the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank’s Board of Directors. Senator Merkley encouraged the Committee to swiftly confirm President Obama’s nominee, Republican Mark McWatters, to serve on the Ex-Im Board of Directors.