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Senators reach agreement on fast-track trade bill sought by Obama

Key lawmakers on Thursday announced they had reached a deal on a bill to grant President Obama broad authority to advance what could be the nation's largest free trade agreement in two decades.

The trade promotion authority bill — known informally as "fast track" legislation — would allow the president to ask Congress for a simple up or down vote on a final 12-nation Pacific trade pact. If approved by Congress, the trade deal would be the biggest since the North American Free Trade Agreement of 1994.

The compromise, between Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and the committee's ranking Democrat Sen. Ron Wyden (Ore.), could be unveiled later Thursday. Though President Obama has sought passage of the bill, Democrats remain deeply divided over the issue.