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Himes announces backing of `fast-track' trade power to Obama

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (AP) Rep. Jim Himes has announced his support for legislation giving President Barack Obama authority to negotiate trade agreements approved or rejected by Congress without amendments.

The Connecticut Democrat said Wednesday the trade promotion authority has been granted to nearly every president for 50 years. He said it would be almost historically unprecedented if Congress failed to do so for Obama.

Himes said Connecticut benefits from exports that depend on expanding global trade. He said the legislation will be a start as lawmakers consider a proposed trade agreement with Asian nations. He said it offers the potential for ``rich export opportunities'' and high-paying export jobs

Lori Pelletier, executive secretary treasurer of the Connecticut AFL-CIO, said Himes' decision is a ``major disappointment.'' Organized labor says previous trade deals have cost the U.S. jobs.

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