Trade Representative Ron Kirk “on Wednesday said he will not bundle free-trade pacts with South Korea, Colombia and Panama into a single bill for congressional approval, despite Republican pressure to do so,” Reuters reports.
"It is highly unlikely to zero that they would be (submitted) in one bill," Kirk told reporters. "We know of no legislative template for an omnibus trade bill."
The Obama administration’s top trade ambassador said that the Panama and South Korea deals were essentially ready for congressional consideration and technical talks with lawmakers were underway. Kirk said the process for Colombia also would be started soon, aiming for a vote after mid-June.
Some Republicans in Congress “have urged Kirk for a single vote on all three but he said this could complicate the process.”
"Even though I’m very confident they’ll pass, we would run the risk of all three being knocked down by a point of order," he said, referring to a parliamentary maneuver. "So what we’re talking with Congress about is staging and timing."