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November 07, 2007

Liveblogging the Peru FTA

10: 58 pm: The reps are signing off, and so are we, until around 10 tomorrow morn. Here's a pretty exciting global justice song, by none other than Anti-Flag, to sing you to sleep: "The WTO Kills Farmers." And so does the Peru FTA, dude.

10:55 pm: Rep. Betty Sutton (D-Ohio), a rockstar, and true heir to now-Sen. Sherrod Brown's (D-Ohio) seat. Representin' Lorain, mos def.

10:47 pm: Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), one of the CAFTA 15, almost got kicked out of office by Rep. Ciro Rodriguez, who challenged his pro-CAFTA vote, and went on to be elected on a fair trade platform in the neighboring district.

10:43 pm: Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) lectures FTA critics as arrogant for pointing out the Peruvians oppose the deal, because their elected officials support the deal. This is the same government that is today breaking a strike, the same elite that privatized their social security system and marginalized the poor. In the words of Peru's largest indigenous federation when they appealed to the US Congress to oppose the deal,

It is very unfortunate that our own Republic’s Congress approved the signing of such a damaging treaty as the Peru FTA. Our democracy is still weak, due in part to the ongoing history of colonialism and racism that excludes meaningful input from affected indigenous communities who fight against exploitation and marginalization. All this leads us to place our hope in your colleagues and above all in you, the members of the U.S. Congress, to represent the best of democracy in our hemisphere and vote down this shameful Peru FTA.

10:39 pm: Rep. Phil Hare (D-Ill.) brought tears and applause to the room, arguing for the no vote. He said some pro-FTA character told him that he should vote for the deal but then talk to his constituents about currency manipulation. Hare said, "I better wear a football helmet if I try, cuz he's going to try to hit me."

10:32 pm: Rep. Melissa Bean (D-Ill.), one of the CAFTA 15, making her fourth consecutive vote for NAFTA expansion.

10:26 pm: Rep. Artur Davis (D-Ala.) gives some questionable dating advice: "Sometimes, you have to take yes for an answer." Oh wait, no he was just talking about the Peru FTA.

10:20 pm: Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.), one of the cofounders of the House Trade Working Group. Calls the "Peru FTA junker" the same "ol NAFTA lemon." "The actual benefits of NAFTA are about as real as the tooth fairy," mentions the promise that immigration would be reduced, but the opposite happened. "The enemy of the good is the bad," in response to the claim that "The enemy of the good is the perfect."

10:13 pm: Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) sez he hasn't "been a purist on trade." That's true: he voted the fair trade position during the Clinton years, and then switched to an anti-fair trade position on 7/9 trade votes during the Bush years. (The two where the political pressure was the highest - CAFTA and Fast Track - he voted the fair trade position.) He's been one of the staunchest advocates of Bush's NAFTA expansion to Peru.

10:08 pm: Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), the presidential candidate who once led the GOP charge against NAFTA, representing the GOP that 2-to-1 think the trade status quo is a bad idea.

10:03 pm: Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.), another very odd vote for the Peru FTA. Says he "voted against all of em" - referring to trade agreements. "This deal isn't perfect, no one this floor is either."

10:01 pm: Gotta love the Texas delegation. Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) is part of the state's delegation that received by far the most corporate money in 2007 from the 13 corporations most interested in pushing the Peru FTA.

9:52 pm: Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) reminds folks that Pelosi and Hoyer voted FOR NAFTA. Reminds folks of how much people were excited about the Jordan FTA, which did not turn out as planned. Points out plenty of benefits for Newmont Mining and Citigroup if the thing passes.

9:41 pm: Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.), an all around GOP leader on trade, "where in the world is this country going?" "Some fat cat somewhere is going to make big bucks," in a great N.C. accent.

9:38 pm: Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) on enforcement: "President Bush has never inconvenienced multinational corporations.... IF you vote for this agreement, it's because you have faith in George Bush."

9:35 pm: Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), for the Peru FTA, possibly the most out of step with his constituents of any of the Dems, who have locked themselves down in civil disobedience at his Portland office.

9:26 pm: Rep. TIm Ryan (R-Wis.) talked about all the brilliant export growth to our FTA nations, failing to mention that our export growth rate to FTA countries as a whole are below that of non-FTA countries.

9:20 pm: Rep. Stephanie Tubbs-Jones (D-Ohio) of Cleveland, very oddly for the Peru FTA. Here's what she had to say about the virtually identical CAFTA:

Mrs. JONES of Ohio. I would like to thank the gentleman from New York for this opportunity to be heard. Mr. Speaker, I rise today against CAFTA because the agreement not only lacks significant labor protections for workers in the CAFTA countries, but also lacks necessary support for American workers. Charity begins at home. Let us not talk about our neighbors' workers. Let us talk about our own workers. With international trade comes economic pain. The United States has lost 2.8 million manufacturing jobs since January 2001. In Ohio, we have lost 200,000 jobs. Past administrations and Congresses have acknowledged a relationship between international trade and domestic job losses by having created the Trade Adjustment Assistance program in 1962 and subsequently expanding it. The program assists workers who have lost their jobs due to international trade by extending unemployment compensation and providing job training. Training is arguably the most important TAA component, as education and learning new skills is essential to finding a new job. During the Ways and Means Committee markup, I introduced an amendment that addressed that problem in order to keep up with worker demand. Unfortunately, that amendment was rejected. Additionally, during CAFTA markup, the Senate Finance Committee adopted an amendment that would have expanded TAA. Unfortunately, that provision was stripped from the CAFTA legislation. So right now there is nothing in TAA or in this final CAFTA legislation to assist American workers that have lost their jobs. Even a provision that Chairman Thomas originally included in the bill is stripped from the legislation. That study would have looked into whether TAA should be expanded as a result of any negative effects of CAFTA. So I ask, where is the commitment to the American worker in the CAFTA bill? NAFTA, CAFTA, SHAFTA for American workers.

For the record, Bush says he'll veto TAA, and "necessary support for American workers" is not in the picture. NAFTA, CAFTA, PUFTA, SHAFTA for American workers.

9:18 pm: Levin, without substantiation, says that the social security issue is without substantiation. But House staff, likely his own, admitted that such a case could be brought.

9:15 pm: Rep. Robin Hayes (R-N.C.), who nearly lost his seat lost year due to his tie-breaking votes on Fast Track and CAFTA, is in opposition. Smart guy! He points out that small business groups are frustrated that scarce congressional resources and time was spent pushing an "unpopular trade deal" with Peru, while ignoring China trade and other issues.

9:10 pm: Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) brings the pain, and bashes Citibank.

9:04 pm: Rep. John Tanner (D-Tenn.), who has voted for EVERY SINGLE EXPANSION OF NAFTA, and the anti fair trade position on 18/19 votes, made us drink twice in our drinking game: "ARE YOU WITH AMERICA, OR YOU WITH HUGO CHAVEZ?!" Not quite as soul stirring as "Mr. Gorbachev, tear this wall down!" but I'm always happy to have an opportunity to drink.

8:56 pm: Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), the CAFTA czar, not surprisingly FOR the expansion of CAFTA and NAFTA to Peru.

8:54 pm: Rep. Dale Kildee (D-Mich.), from Flint, Mich., against the Peru FTA. Points out that not only Bush, but ALL presidents he has worked with from both parties do not bother to enforce trade rules.

8:50 pm: Rep. Jim Ramstad (R-Minn.), who has voted for 19/19 unfair trade votes, not surprisingly for the Peru FTA, and leaving Congress next year.

8:48 pm: Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), the NAFTA czar, not surprisingly FOR the expansion of NAFTA to Peru. He talks about how his part of the party talks about the need for pensions and other economic strategies, but only delivers on trade.

8:45 pm: Why are they making Jerry Weller, family member of dictators, the face of the "yes" vote?

8:43 pm: Rep. David Wu (D-Ore.) rejecting the FTA, saying human rights need to be put in with labor and environment rights.

8:25 pm: Rangel calls it "historic." "It's ridiculous to believe that we can create jobs without trade." "What we're talking about now is what is good for the country."

Just announced by Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) that the bataan death march goes on until tomorrow morning. They'll do most of the debate tonight.

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