The Senate is expected to vote Thursday on a trade agreement that would extend the life of a major fishery protection pact.
The deal, which is aimed at boosting fisheries worldwide, has been stalled in the House for more than two years.
The Senate would then consider it next year.
Republicans in both chambers have said they are willing to take a more hawkish approach to the fishery deal.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the deal would be a boon for fishermen and for the country.
“We have a lot of work to do on this,” McConnell said in April.
“I’m hopeful we’ll be able to get it done and I’m hopeful that it will pass.”
Democrats, however, have been vocal about their opposition to the deal.
Joe Manchin, D-W.
Va., and Joe Donnelly, D and Richard Blumenthal, D, both of Connecticut, have proposed legislation that would make it harder for Congress to fast-track a fishery agreement.
The legislation, titled the Fishery Fisheries Trade Promotion Act, would bar any member of Congress from holding a vote on a fisheria-related trade promotion agreement unless he or she is on the Commerce Committee, a committee that is dominated by Democrats.
The bill also prohibits Congress from approving a trade promotion authority that would allow a president to sign trade deals without congressional approval.
In a statement, the White House argued that the deal was the right way to do things and would boost U.S. fisheries exports and help to address the effects of climate change.
But the White Senate Office of Management and Budget has said the trade promotion bill could cost U.N. Member states $10 billion.
A White House official said the administration had no comment on the senators’ legislation.
The White House said President Donald Trump supports the pact and that the administration has made the case for it in a number of meetings with members of Congress.
Trump has not signed any trade agreements during his presidency, but has vowed to work with Congress to approve trade deals.
A group of senators has been pushing for an overhaul of the fishers deal.
Last month, Sens.
Tom Cotton, R, Arkansas, and John Barrasso, R of Wyoming, sent a letter to Trump and other members of his administration urging them to stop the fisheries deal, saying it was “misguided and harmful.”
The senators said that by extension the pact could give foreign countries the right to challenge the U.A.E.’s territorial claims in the South China Sea and make it easier for China to claim the disputed waters.
____ Follow Jill Colvin on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/colvinjill