Penn steps down; other heart attacks
Trade on the Trail - Bush channels Nixon

What people are saying about the Colombia FTA

We say:

...If the Bush administration believed its oft-repeated talking point that this agreement is vital to U.S. national security interests, it would not send it to certain defeat, but rather would work with Democrats to pressure Colombia's president to stop labor leader assassinations and forced displacements and murders of Afro-Colombians, and leave the agreement for consideration in the future when conditions had improved.

In the 33 years since the Fast Track trade agreement process was first established, no past president has exercised Fast Track's extraordinary procedure that forces a vote on a trade agreement over the objection of congressional leaders. In this instance, both Democratic congressional leaders and the few Democrats inclined to support the Colombia agreement made clear that dismissing the role of Congress and insulting the speaker by sending the pact without her consent would unify Democratic opposition. By deciding to force the vote this way, Bush has put the few Democrats inclined to support the deal into a position of either having to oppose it or sanction the administration's public insult of the speaker and other Democratic leaders.

The AFL-CIO says (sorry, not linkable):

Our nation has lost three million good manufacturing jobs on President Bushs watch alone. The economic damage has inspired a new consensus around the necessity of protections for workers basic rights to stanch the worldwide race to the bottom in living standards. Yet today, the Bush Administration has scuttled the progress toward a new consensus with its willingness to turn a blind eye to rampant human rights atrocities -- all for a trade agreement that even Administration economists anticipate will be of little economic consequence. Todays announcement makes a complete mockery of the labor protections that were negotiated and incorporated into the trade agreement, and which would be violated from day one.

Chairman George Miller says:

Because of historical and ongoing violence against Colombians who are labor organizers, labor leaders, or simply members of labor unions, Congress should not consider this proposed trade agreement with Colombia until we are assured that Colombia has brought to justice those responsible for the attacks on union members in Colombia and until Colombia has successfully put an end to the impunity that has been enjoyed for years by those who have attacked and killed union members in Colombia.

Chairman Baucus says:

Forcing Congress to vote on the Colombia trade agreement without a chance to weigh in on the legislation is an abuse of the fast-track process for trade agreements, and may well turn supporters and potential supporters of the Colombia agreement into opponents of the deal. Forcing this vote now is a disservice to American workers and to our trading partner, Colombia, as well. Colombia is an important ally in a troubled region. I urge the President not to add fuel to the fire surrounding this agreement, but to reconsider this unwise decision.

Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Rangel say:

President Bush's statement today regarding his unprecedented decision to send a free trade agreement to Congress without following established protocols of Congressional consultation is counter-productive, jeopardizing prospects for its passage. Under present circumstances, we cannot support the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement.... Despite progress made by President Uribe, Colombia remains a dangerous place to be a labor activist, and for those who commit these acts of violence, there is little threat of prosecution or punishment.

Teamsters say:

"This trade deal is an insult to every American who works for a living," Hoffa said. "Workers are feeling the pain of the trade deals that began with NAFTA. They’ve been disasters.

"The Teamsters, the Change to Win federation and the entire labor movement will work tirelessly to defeat this job-killing trade deal that never should have been negotiated in the first place," Hoffa said.

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This is a terrific website.

The Colombia FTA is a disgrace, but fortunately it feels like the tide is turning in the past couple of months in favor of fair trade in this country.

This election will be a great chance for a wake up call for the nations' consciousness, another benefit of a protracted primary which would kept the trade issue in the background without the help of my home state Ohio.

Keep fighting the good fight.


Good blog. I come to see what you have to say quite often. Hopefully when the United States starts taking a closer look at trade deals with China and other countries, Canada will come to it's senses too.

We have suffered in Canada as well. Our poverty rates have soured since the 90's and I believe it is because good jobs linked to manufacturing got replaced by unstable service industry jobs and also temporary warehouse work.

I don't know whether the tide will change. It seems like only the interests of the corporations are being taken into account with our "elected" representatives.

Keep up the good work!

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