Obama Edges Closer to Political Cliff With Deal to Combine Program to Aid Workers Losing Jobs to Trade With Three Bush-Era NAFTA-Style Trade Pacts Projected to Cause More Job Loss
Liveblogging dueling congressional hearings on 3 NAFTA deals

Breaking: GOP Boycotts Mark-Up of NAFTA Deals

At 3 pm today, the Senate Finance Committee was supposed to hold an "un-mark-up" of the implementing legislation for the three NAFTA-style deals.(For the background on this arcane Fast Track procedure, see our book here.)

But all the Republicans on the Committee boycotted the hearing, so Chairman Max Baucus (D-Montana) called it off.

They objected to the inclusion of any trade adjustment assistance (TAA) in the Korea FTA, on fiscal austerity grounds. Or, as Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah),

"Unions and other anti-trade zealots gleefully use TAA data to make the case that trade causes outsourcing and job loss... Instead of helping build the case for trade, TAA certifications are used to show that trade is bad.  In the end TAA really is just a government subsidy for anti-trade propaganda."

Yes, reality is so uncooperative with corporate spin sometimes!

Not that the administration's stance is much more coherent. As our own Lori Wallach told Politico,

“For most Americans, what’s newsworthy is not that the administration is pushing Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA), which effectively is a job burial insurance program, but that pushing a deal on TAA is being used as political cover to move more NAFTA-style trade agreements that will kill more American jobs in the first place, especially given our high unemployment rates.” Wallach added. “The point that’s gotten lost in all this wrangling over TAA is that the three leftover Bush trade deals are bad in and of themselves.”

It's unclear what comes next. Senators had lined up a raft of amendments to the FTAs, on everything from restricting abortion rights to restroring the TAA health care credit funding that the Obama administration had agreed to reduce from current levels. There's still time to shelve the deals, reverse course, and actually have Obama make good on his commitments to truly overhaul our failed trade policy. We'll be watching, and out in the streets over this Fourth of July weekend around the country.

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Susan Hathaway

Stop these shameful "free" trade agreements, which you know very well are designed to lower standards for treatment and payment of workers throughout the world. The effects of the horrible NAFTA agreement are still being felt, and you want to expand that bad policy to yet other countries. You're trying to make the entire world the Third World.


Until we get back to a government that is By, OF, and FOR the people, DOLLARS will continue to win over citizens.

Corporations have no business running the country. Nor do those who are not citizens within our borders.

Not another NAFTA type deal

We don't need more NAFTA type deals. It is costing us more work here. S. Korea is fast becoming a market that is taking jobs over there that should be established here. It's time we started get deals going here.

Paul Alexander

All these "Free Trade Agreements, are just another tool of the corporations to break what little sway that unions have in this country. As a retired union member, I worry month to month whether or not my pension fund has been raped by the very corporation to which I dedicated, and faithfully, and honorably served for 30 years.
We export jobs, and therefore our economy, to country's with no regard for the citizens of this country. We will, within the next generation be reduced to 3rd world status. When this time does finally arrive, the only American manufactured, products that will be in demand by the rest of the world, will be weapons of death and destruction.


NAFTA trade agreements have screwed the US workers now for years...our economy is failing, new jobs are not being created what exactly is Obama trying to do? Seems to me he is outsourcing what is left of the US economy to raise the standard of living in South America. The guy is off his rocker.

Robert Brown

I am against these free-trade deals because I believe from what I have read that they will kill jobs in the United States in order to provide work for people in Colombia and South Korea. While I want their economies to be successful, I want American workers to have access to good-paying jobs and I want our unemployment rate to drop. Since the beginning of NAFTA, our jobs have declined in both number and pay level. This is not good for America, except for the business community that wants to starve us all.

Annette Tchelka

GATT, NAFTA, the Uruguay Round have all robbed countries of their sovereignty, have secret tribunals, no Congressional oversight and have downgraded wages, consumer rights, standards of living and devastated the environment. The last thing we need is more NAFTA agreements which continue to outsource our jobs and trash the globe in the process. We must fight the corporations!

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