U.S. Republican senator voices opposition to advancing fast-track bill

Thu May 21, 2015 9:43am EDT
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WASHINGTON May 21 (Reuters) - Conservative Republican U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions warned on Thursday against rushing ahead with a "fast-track" bill that President Barack Obama wants to help him complete a Pacific Rim trade deal, indicating some erosion of support for the measure.

The Alabama senator voted on May 14 to allow the trade promotion authority bill to clear a procedural hurdle and allow debate on the legislation. Another procedural vote, aimed at moving the legislation toward passage, is set for Thursday.

"I see no reason we have to rush this," said Session, who added that Republican leaders were maneuvering to block amendments from being considered.

Some Senate aides were predicting a razor-close vote on advancing the fast-track bill toward passage.

The evolving trade deal is a centerpiece in the Obama administration's pivot to Asia after a decade of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and as China's political and military influence are on the rise.

(Reporting by Richard Cowan; Editing by Bernadette Baum)