Reports are streaming in constantly to our headquarters, and I thought I would share two very interesting findings from Inside U.S. Trade (sorry, not linkable).
First, on whether labor had been consulted:
Both Pelosi and Rangel acknowledged that they had gotten no feedback from labor groups on the agreement and Rangel said he understood that the AFL-CIO was still seeking the reaction from its union president. But Pelosi emphasized that she and Rangel had consulted with labor at the beginning of the process and insisted that the agreement announced at 6 pm had literally been reached that afternoon. But an opponent of the deal expressed doubts that the press conference involving Schwab and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson along with the senior members of the House leadership, as well as the leadership of the New Democrat Coalition, could have been brought together within an hour’s notice. This source speculated that the announcement might have been made on May 10 to head off an expected announcement by the Teamsters that they will oppose the deal.
Second, on whether the labor "deal" will even be in the agreement's text:
The agreement is to have “legally binding” labor and environmental standards in FTAs, but there is no consensus on whether that means reopening those FTAs already signed. House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee Chairman Sander Levin (D-MI) said he does not see how there can be a legally binding obligation without reopening already signed agreements. But Schwab said for Peru and Colombia, the U.S. could insert the obligations into the implementing language… Similarly, Ranking Ways and Means Committee Member Jim McCrery (R-LA) said the threshold of legally binding could be met by either having Peru reopen its agreement or finding another way.
We'll be posting more as we get it...