Free trade deals with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea pass House and Senate

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

The U.S. House and U.S. Senate pushed through passage of free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea. Passage was a top priority for President Obama, though all three had "overwhelming Republican support", according to the New York Times:

The House voted to pass the Colombia measure, the most controversial of the three deals because of concerns about the treatment of unions in that country, 262 to 167; the Panama measure passed 300 to 129, and the agreement concerning South Korea passed 278 to 151. The votes reflected a clear partisan divide, with many Democrats voting against the president. In the Senate, the Colombia measure passed 66 to 33, the Panama bill succeeded 77 to 22 and the South Korea measure passed 83 to 15. Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, voted against all three measures.

Sen. Ron Wyden voted in favor of all three agreements. Sen. Jeff Merkley voted against all three agreements.

Reps. Earl Blumenauer and Kurt Schrader voted for Panama and South Korea, and against Colombia. Rep. Peter DeFazio voted against all three agreements. Rep. Greg Walden voted in favor of all three agreements.

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    DeFazio was great on the radio this morning, talking about a real culture in South Korea that has people supporting domestic industries (for example, if a South Korean buys an American car, his employer will not grant him a parking place).

    And we've heard it all before: PNTR with China, NAFTA, CAFTA were all supposed to help with US jobs. Have they?

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    Thank you Jeff M. and Peter DeFazio. I really believe we will look back on this legislation as another failed trade agreement. That is: failed for the 99%....beneficial ONLY for 1% who decades ago, sent our jobs overseas and are continuing to do so.

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    Very unfortunate development - from Lori Wallach, Director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch:

    With nine percent unemployment and Americans desperate for job creation, it is unconscionable that President Obama and House Republicans would push through a trio of NAFTA-style job-killing trade agreements that even the government’s own studies show will increase the U.S. trade deficit.

    This represents a complete flip-flop for President Obama, who won crucial swing states by pledging to overhaul our flawed trade policies. So it is no surprise that a sizeable majority of Democrats in Congress voted against these agreements, against Obama and for American jobs.

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    We need to start thinking about a replacement for Wyden.

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    (1) The Democratic Party is clearly split on trade issues. It is one of those divisive issues that can hurt the Democratic coalition. The split in the Oregon delegation is just an example.

    (2) The progressive position, IMHO, is pro-free trade. It benefits us and it benefits others.

    (3) Most global economic growth is taking place outside the US. For the foreseeable future, Oregon’s biggest and best opportunities for economic growth and jobs are to sell more goods and services abroad. Yes, there are a broad variety of barriers to us abroad, but that’s what trade agreements do – they help reduce those barriers. But, if we want to turn out back on these global opportunities (and as well fail to strengthen our foreign language and study abroad program), we should expect to grow economically more slowly than much of the world.

    (4) Globally, the opening of international markets through increasingly free trade has permitted hundred of millions of people all across the globe to rise out of abject poverty into some semblance of the lower middle class. It is a major accomplishment of American foreign policy and we should celebrate it.

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      "The progressive position, IMHO, is pro-free trade."

      This attitude is what splits the party. The record is very clear on the effect of trade agreements on jobs and wages - American jobs are lost and American wages are depressed. Progressive does not mean making Americans poor.

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    @David Porter: if pro-free-trade is the progressive position, then the entire GOP is taking the progressive position. It is tough to reconcile the GOP of 2011 with progressivity.

    And, free trade has destroyed the domestic farming sectors of Mexico and Haiti. Bill Clinton himself has done a mea culpa on Haiti.

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      I won't try to explain the GOP position, but on the Korean trade deal, the agreement most important for Oregon, roughly two-thirds of Senate Democrats voted for it (only 15 votes total against it) and roughly two-third of the House Democrats voted against it (130 against, 59 for). Like Oregon's delegation, the Democratic Party is split.

      You know which side I'm on.

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    Senator Wyden is just so bipartisan...

    How about fair trade instead of free trade

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