The final language of the Pacific-Rim trade deal, known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), was released last week, which began the clock on the 60-day minimum review period before the president can send the deal to Congress for their approval. However, many now believe that consideration may be delayed for TPP, indeed some are now saying it may not be until the last month or so of the president's administration before Congress considers the deal.
Several Senators, including John Thune (R-SD) and Roy Blunt (R-MO), were on the record this week saying they didn't see how TPP would be voted on before the November 2016 elections.
The TPP, which would strengthen ties between the U.S. and 11 other Pacific-Rim countries, has been heavily criticized by both Republican and Democratic presidential candidates, including Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Republican front-runner Donald Trump (R-NY).
By the time the mandatory 60-day review period is up for Congress, voters in the first presidential primary contest, the Iowa caucuses, will be preparing to vote.
Earlier this year, President Obama succeeded in getting "fast-track" trade authority after a divisive fight that saw opponents on both the left and the right attempt to block the measure. While fast-track authority succeeded, which allowed President Obama greater negotiating power, final passage of TPP remains murky.
Indeed, some high profile supporters of fast-track trade authority have soured on the final deal. Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) said he was "immensely concerned" that stronger intellectual-property rights for the pharmaceutical industry were not included. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) said his enthusiasm for TPP has "waned" since he voted for fast-track.
Opposition to TPP on the left remains strong, led by environmental groups and organized labor.
But opposition isn't just coming from progressives; Tea Party groups and immigration hawks have also voiced opposition to the deal.
Supporters of the trade deal may see the window of opportunity between the November 2016 elections and the end of President Obama's term as the best chance to secure final passage of TPP.