The Senate voted Wednesday to give President Barack Obama “fast track” authority to negotiate trade deals—one of the final steps in a long political battle that pitted the White House against House Democrats.
The bill—which passed 60-38 in the Senate—will be sent to the president’s desk later this afternoon, but it was not immediately clear when he would sign it.
Unions and most congressional Democrats say free-trade deals cost U.S. jobs and reward countries that pollute and mistreat workers. Obama and most Republican leaders say U.S. products must reach broader markets.
The vote was a stinging defeat for environmental groups and for unions that say free-trade agreements kill U.S. jobs.
Obama and Republican leaders say U.S. producers must reach more global markets.