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Pascrell: Bush Picked Wrong Time, Wrong Place to Force Colombia Trade Deal

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC


U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-08) a member of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade today voted with a majority in the House of Representatives on a rule to stop President Bush's heavy handed attempt to forego Congressional consultation and force an inadequate trade deal with Colombia through Congress.

Pascrell, who recently voted to approve a trade deal with Peru, highlighted the progress being made in Congress and with the international community to strengthen trade agreements and foster a more competitive global marketplace.

"The President picked the wrong time and wrong place to try to ramrod a trade agreement through Congress," stated Pascrell. "Between the economic downturn here at home, the recent progress we‘ve made in crafting stronger trade agreements, and the sensitive security situation in Colombia, the President picked a terrible time to miscalculate the will of Congress. The President's break from the consensus we built together on economic items like the Peru deal and the stimulus package is a troubling sign as the economy continues to sink. Further, the reckless attempt to advance a trade deal with Colombia against the will of Congress only jeopardized the prospects of its approval."

"Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Rangel have relied on consultation, not confrontation, with Congress to negotiate trade agreements in a productive and bipartisan manner. A return to the divisive process by which the administration enacted CAFTA would be a foolish departure from the progress we've made to foster a global market where American business interests can compete on a level playing field with our foreign partners."

The measure approved by the House today suspends the requirements that the Ways and Means Committee act within 45 days, and that the House vote within 15 days after that to approve or deny the U.S.- Colombia trade agreement. Under the rules change, the House would consider the measure at a time of its choosing.

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