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Senate Reaches Deal To Vote Thursday On 'Fast-Track' Trade Bill

One day after Senate Democrats blocked the "fast-track" trade authority bill that has been championed by both President Obama and Republicans, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says an agreement has been reached to move forward.

The solution calls for separate votes on bills that Democrats had wanted to move as a single package on the floor, according to NPR's Ailsa Chang. Ailsa says the Senate will vote on a customs enforcement bill that includes Sen. Charles Schumer's safeguards aimed at reducing currency manipulation.

The customs bill "will get a vote tomorrow at 10:30 a.m.," Ailsa reports, along with "a vote on a bill giving trade preference to sub-Saharan African countries."

Votes on final passage of those two measures is slated for 12:30 p.m. ET.

The deal comes a day after the "fast track" bill that would give the president TPA — or trade promotion authority — fell eight votes short of the 60 needed to avoid a Senate filibuster.

As Brian Naylor reported for The Two-Way on Tuesday, the trade authority "would ultimately clear the way for passage of the Trans Pacific Partnership — a complex trade agreement that its supporters say will provide new markets for American goods as well as new jobs."

And Brian added, "Democrats — even some who support the trade agreement, like Ron Wyden of Oregon — voted to block the Senate from taking up the bill, because they want Republicans to agree to take up other trade-related measures."

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Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.