Paralyzed by ideological divisions,
For much of the 20th century, Congress gave the president the green light to strike trade deals that reduced tariffs. In 1974, however, lawmakers passed the first in a series of temporary "fast track" laws requiring congressional approval of any trade treaty. This "trade promotion authority" legislation also required lawmakers to approve or reject such treaties without amendment. The division of labor has been clear ever since: The administration does the bargaining, but Congress ultimately gives the deal an up-or-down vote.
Now, a leading