The U.S. House of Representatives yesterday voted to scrap a trade law requiring Congress to simply vote "yes" or "no" on free-trade pacts without revisions and within 90 days of receiving the proposals from the President.
The House vote was 224 to 195. Essentially, it will allow Congress to postpone the Colombia free-trade agreement-- and others-- until after the fall elections. President Bush has submitted the Columbia FTA to Congress just this week.
In general, the Democrats oppose the FTA as they contend that overseas trade harms U.S. workers.
U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab disagrees. "This action by the House will have profoundly negative consequences for our workers, our relationship with Colombia and the credibility of the United States," she said in a statement. "The reckless decision by the Democratic House leadership dismantles over 30 years of bipartisan trade policy."
Bush said the House action, "undermines the trust required for any Administration to negotiate trade agreements in the future."
The National Pork Producers Council has worked long and hard in supporting the Columbia and other similar trade pacts.
The House's move to scrap the 90-day vote deadline could threaten other pending trade pacts, specifically those with South Korea and Panama.