Congress appears to be deadlocked with respect to the extension of three important trade programs: TAA, the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Enforcement Act ("ATPDEA"), and the Generalized System Of Preferences ("GSP"). Efforts by congressional Democrats to extend the TAA and the ATPDEA failed when legislation to extend both programs was pulled from the House floor without a vote days before the programs expired on February 13. The Republican leadership cited the high cost of the TAA program as the primary reason for the bill's removal from the House voting calendar. Although the proposed extension of ATPDEA was less controversial, its linkage to TAA sealed its fate, at least for the time being.
Senate Democrats have introduced legislation that would extend both GSP and TAA until June 30, 2012. GSP expired at the end of 2010 when Senator Sessions (R-AL) placed a hold on the GSP extension legislation over a dispute regarding imports of sleeping bags from Bangladesh. The proposed new TAA/GSP extension legislation purports to address Senator Sessions' previous objections, but the proposed legislation does not have sufficient support to pass the Senate.
Renewal of these programs will require Democrats and Republicans in both the House and Senate to find an acceptable compromise. The serious differences between the two parties and between the House and the Senate, however, suggest that the program extensions may not be passed for a considerable period of time.