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Long-stalled free trade deals may be sent to Congress

Oct 1, 2011, 2:52 p.m.
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during an event at Abraham Lincoln High School in Denver, September 27, 2011. REUTERS/Jason Reed

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama may send to Congress as early as Monday three long-stalled free trade agreements with South Korea, Panama and Colombia, a senior administration official said on Saturday.

The agreements have been awaiting congressional approval for more than four years. Obama has been holding off sending them to Capitol Hill in hopes of getting assurances that they will be swiftly approved.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday said he was confident they will be quickly considered and approved by a bipartisan majority in both the Democratic-controlled Senate and the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the trade deals could be sent to Congress as early as Monday.

(Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Eric Beech)

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