The US congress may yet value its country’s central role in global economic affairs.
Mitch McConnell, the Republican majority leader in the Senate, predicts that his chamber will pass legislation that would allow the Obama administration to complete trade deals. This is significant for several reasons. Passage of “fast-track” legislation would clear the way for the completion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which could provide a significant jolt to the global economy. The politics are fascinating, as President Barack Obama appears set to do a deal with Republicans to help cement his legacy, while battling openly with Elizabeth Warren, arguably the only politician who rivals Obama’s popularity within the Democratic Party. Fast-track authority also would allow the US to reassert itself in global economic affairs. This would force a rethink of the narrative that the American empire is in retreat.