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Senate Passes TPA

The Senate has voted 60 to 38 to approve a House-passed version Trade Promotion Authority (TPA).

It now heads to the President's desk.

The bill, the trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015, outlines the negotiating objectives that any administration has to follow in conducting trade talks while it gives the President broad authority to strike those deals. It requires Congress and the public to have access to information on trade deals before they are struck. The bill makes Congress a partner in trade agreements. It also deals with cyber theft, trade secrets and intellectual property protection. The last is particularly important to content providers.

The bill, among other things, makes it clear that trade protections include digital as well as physical goods.

The House passed the bill last week, and the Senate passed a version of TPA last month, but was voting on the House-passed version.

TV and movie producers represented by the Motion Picture Association of America have been strongly in favor of the bill, which also grants the President "fast track" authority to negotiate bills, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership bill, which MPAA also supports.

TPP will expand trade and access to creative content to much of the Asia-Pacific region, MPAA has said, including creating what it calls "strong standards for the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights for the 21st century."

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.