Skip to comments.In Bush Win, House Narrowly Approves CAFTA
Posted on 07/27/2005 9:14:44 PM PDT by RWR8189
WASHINGTON - The House narrowly approved the Central American Free Trade Agreement early Thursday, a personal triumph for President Bush, who campaigned aggressively for the accord he said would foster prosperity and democracy in the hemisphere.
The 217-215 vote just after midnight adds six Latin American countries to the growing lists of nations with free trade agreements with the United States and averts what could have been a major political embarrassment for the Bush administration.
It was an uphill effort to win a majority, with Bush traveling to Capitol Hill earlier in the day to appeal to wavering Republicans to support a deal he said was critical to U.S. national security.
Lobbying continued right up to the vote, with Vice President Dick Cheney, U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman (news, bio, voting record) and Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez tracking undecided lawmakers.
The United States signed the accord, known as CAFTA, a year ago with Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic, and the Senate approved it last month. It now goes to the president for his signature.
To capture a majority, supporters had to overcome what some have called free trade fatigue, a growing sentiment that free trade deals such as the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada have contributed to a loss of well-paying American jobs and the soaring trade deficit.
Democrats, who were overwhelmingly against CAFTA, also argued that its labor rights provisions were weak and would result in exploitation of workers in Central America.
But supporters pointed out that CAFTA would over time eliminate tariffs and other trade barriers that impede U.S. sales to the region, correcting the current situation in which 80 percent of Central American goods enter the United States duty-free but Americans must pay heavy tariffs.
The agreement would also strengthen intellectual property protections and make it easier for Americans to invest in the region.
"This is a test of American leadership in a changing world," said Rep. Kevin Brady (news, bio, voting record), R-Texas, a leading proponent of the agreement. "We cannot claim to be fighting for American jobs and yet turn our backs on 44 million new customers in Central America.
Time to go fill out a job application at WalMart, if they're still hiring Americans...
A great win for those who like low taxes!
I just wish that free trade didn't come with quasi governmental organizations that suddenly get power over the American people.
Take that AFL-CIO! Marxism always loses to Capitalism.
Horsecrap, Brady. As if we make anything that your new "customers" can afford.
Say goodbye to the middle class.
A blow to sovereignty is somehow a 'win' in the eyes of 'conservatives.'
But not to real conservatives.
Like the invasion of cheap labor into our country, only a few will benefit from this open, free trade cabal.
Listen closely, you can hear the crystal glasses clanging.
That's right. 21 million new jobs and higher real wages. Save us from more good stuff like that. LOL!!!
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