House Votes to Delay Consideration of Free Trade Expansion
Reasserting congressional authority over trade policy, the House of Representatives today voted to suspend consideration of the Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA). The agreement, negotiated under "Fast Track" rules of the House of Representative, must be considered within 60 legislative days and is not amendable.
Citing the continued killings of labor organizers in Colombia, American labor organizations including the AFL-CIO and the Change to Win coalition, an organization of seven affiliated unions which represent more than six million workers, are united in opposition to the Colombia FTA. Colombia remains the most dangerous country in the world for union members. In 2007, thirty-nine trade unionists were murdered in Colombia and that trend continues in 2008.
Congressman Dale E. Kildee (D-MI) issued this statement following today's vote on the Colombia FTA:
"I applaud Speaker Pelosi for today's action. This vote is not only a victory for working Americans who in recent years have seen their jobs sent overseas, but it also reasserts the authority that Congress - not the President -- holds in enacting trade measures.
"I will continue to work in opposition to the Colombia FTA. The agreement does nothing to protect American jobs and industry. If passed, the FTA will only serve to expand the failed NAFTA-CAFTA trade model which has resulted in exporting more than a million manufacturing jobs in the last five years. When Delphi closed in Flint, workers were ordered to pack up some of their manufacturing machinery in crates bound for Matamoros, Mexico, literally exporting their own jobs.
"It is absurd that George Bush would even negotiate a trade agreement with a nation that has such an abysmal human rights record and does little to prosecute those responsible for such murder and violence."