Free Trade Vote: This list of which Dems were naughty or nice....
The Trade Votes: The List
of Dems who were naughty or nice…
The vote in congress on Wednesday that passed all three free
trade agreements with Colombia, Korea and Panama was certainly an outrage. Even
with protests all over this country demanding economic justice, American jobs
were sold out, and the model of economic exploitation of international workers
and markets was once again ratified by the US congress. So are we furious? Yes.
Are we defeated? Absolutely not. 167 Representatives in the House and 33 in the Senate voted against the
Colombia Free Trade Agreement. If you watched the debates you heard many
Democrats speak out in outrage that US congress was even considering these
trade agreements. In the words of Portland, Oregon’s Rep. Defazio “America is
number one! Number one in exporting jobs!”. So lets remember where we are, in
the belly of the beast but there are certainly some rumblings in that belly.
For years and more so in the last months Witness for Peace Southwest and our
coalition partners have been pressuring congress members to vote against these
agreements. Among the five representatives that we directly lobbied on the
trade agreements, 4 of them voted against the Colombia Free Trade Agreement. 2
voted against all three. It is apparent to most of us that many of our
representatives are certainly bought and paid for but the only thing that
speaks louder than money is angry mobs of constituents outside their offices.
Congress can be moved but it takes us to move them.
First lets thank the House
Democrats in California, Arizona and New Mexico that voted against ALL three
trade agreements. These Democrats stood with us:
CA: Reps. Baca, Capps, Chu, Filner, Garamendi, Hahn,
Honda, Lee, Lofgren, McNerney, Miller, Napolitano, Richardson, Roybal-Allard,
Linda Sanchez, Sherman, Seier, Stark, Waters, Bass and Woolsey.
AZ: Pastor and Grijalva
NM: Heinrich and Lujan
Honorable mentions go to Karen Bass who while we were rallying her office a day before
the trade vote she was still undecided. On Wednesday she cast her first trade
votes in congress and voted against all three. Special thanks to
Reps. Lois Capps, Joe Baca and Maxine Waters who
spoke out on the house floor against the trade agreements. The California
caucus also had two Republicans vote against the Korea FTA: Reps. Rohrabacher
In the Senate California Senator Barbara Boxer and New
Mexico Senator Tom Udall voted against the
Colombia and Panama FTAs.
You can call or email these reps to thank them for standing
for workers and human rights. www.house.gov
or Congress switchboard (202) 224-3121.
Now to the naughty list:
If you did not
see your rep mentioned above than they probably voted for some or all of the
free trade agreements. Special mention needs to go to the Demoracts that voted
for all three FTAs. CA House Reps. Berman, Costa and
Davis. Even after constituents held a rally on Tuesday at Howard
Berman’s office he still voted in favor of all three FTAs.
California Senator Diane Feinstein
and New Mexico Senator Bingaman voted for all three free trade
Call or email these Reps to let them know you will remember
in the next election how they sold out us out on these trade agreements. www.house.gov or Congress switchboard (202)
If you would like the full report on how your rep voted you
can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
or see the whole vote break down at the links below:
House Votes on all three trade agreements- see link to PDF doc-
Support the work of Witness for Peace Southwest to end
military and economic violence in Latin America.
Free Trade Agreement-California Jobs Most Vulnerable to Proposed Korea Trade Deal SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Among all states, California has the most jobs to lose under a proposed free trade agreement between South Korea and the United States, according to a study by the U.S. International Trade Commission, the federal agency responsible for predicting economic effects of trade deals. The USITC, which estimates the Korea-US Free Trade Agreement would increase the overall US goods deficit by between $308 and $416 million, says that jobs in certain sectors, such as electronics, metal work, transportation, textiles and apparel are most vulnerable under the FTA.A total of 459,503 Californian jobs would be at risk if the FTA is passed, which is one reason Democrats George Miller and Linda Sanchez were early opponents of the deal, which is based on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that has cost millions of American jobs. Congressional approval of the pact is expected to hinge greatly on how California's large delegation to the House of Representative votes, a notion that has opponents of the deal in California taking a stand.“We’ve seen over 800,000 California jobs lost or displaced since NAFTA,” said Art Pulaski, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the California Labor Federation. “With the unemployment rate in California at 12.5%, we simply can’t afford another flawed, job-destroying trade deal. Trade agreements should lead to greater economic opportunity, not just for corporations, but for workers. The Korea agreement, like bad trade deals before it, fails that test.” For full article go to HYPERLINK "http://www.citizenstrade.org/cafairtrade.php"http://www.citizenstrade.org/cafairtrade.php
PANAMA Free Trade Agreement
If NAFTA sacrificed workers' rights, the environment, food security, public health, and key tenets of democracy in Mexico, and if CAFTA did the same in Central America, why should we expect a different outcome from the Panama FTA? We shouldn't. With a text that mimics NAFTA, the Panama agreement is projected to wreak NAFTA-style havoc in Panama's countryside. ONAGRO, Panama's largest peasant farmer organization, has stated:
"We are certain that the FTA will cause great displacement in the Panamanian agriculture sector, on which 40 percent of our nation's population depends either directly or indirectly. We Panamanians do not want to follow the Mexicans and Central Americans in the flood of immigration to the United States, where many risk their life trying to be able to make a living."
This NAFTA model is obviously not fair trade-it's not even truly free trade. It's bald-faced corporate protectionism. The Panama FTA would go even further than NAFTA in bailing out big business. Panama is widely known as a tax haven, a place where AIG and Citigroup maintain subsidiaries to hide their profits. If the Panama FTA is approved, these corporations--the same ones that recently used our tax money to pay bonuses to their executives--would gain extra safeguards to more easily evade U.S. taxes. Lack of corporate regulation is what got us into the current economic crisis. Now, through the Panama FTA, AIG and Citigroup would have us codify such deregulation into trade law.
COLOMBIA Free Trade Agreement
What’s Different About Colombia?
HUMAN RIGHTS. While all free trade agreements are harmful, the US-Colombia FTA is especially critical to oppose due to Colombia’s atrocious human rights record. Colombia’s government and military have been implicated in many human rights violations due to direct contact with paramilitary death squads that appear on the U.S.’s list of designated terrorists. As of March 2008,over 85 Colombian political leaders have been detained for their involvement with paramilitaries, including current and past members of Congress,council members, governors, mayors, state legislators, and the former director of DAS—Colombia’s FBI.
Colombian FARMERS cannot compete with heavily subsidized US agribusiness. For every dollar that the Colombian government spends on agriculture the US spends $222. If the Colombia FTA passes, US agricultural exports to Colombia would jump by an estimated 70% in the first year to 4.6 million tons, dwarfing the estimated 93,000 tons Colombia would export to the US. Colombian farmers and indigenous people, fearing increased displacement from the FTA, have resolutely condemned the agreement. In a series of opinion polls, 98% of wheat farmers, 98% of highland farmers, 99.6% of rice farmers, and 98% of indigenous people stated opposition to the FTA.
Colmbian WORKERS: Colombia is able to compete well in the global race to the bottom of wages and labor rights since Colombia is the number one killer of trade unionists. Since 1991, over 2,200 Colombian union members have been murdered. The FTA would give incentives to multinational corporations to take advantage of the extremely violent situation for Colombian workers in order to continue to prioritize their own profits over worker rights. U.S. companies such as Coca-Cola, Chiquita, and Drummond Coal have already been accused of and/or sued for hiring paramilitaries who kill, threaten, torture, and kidnap Colombian union members. The FTA would push Colombia to lower already low wages, to weaken already poor labor standards, and to remove or reduce laws that once guaranteed workers the right to receive overtime pay, the right to collective bargaining, and the right to worker’s compensation.
Our recommended Resources on Trade:
HYPERLINK "http://citizenstrade.org/" http://citizenstrade.org/
HYPERLINK "http://www.citizen.org/trade/" http://www.citizen.org/trade/
HYPERLINK "http://witnessforpeace.org" http://witnessforpeace.org
HYPERLINK "http://www.art-us.org/content/what-alliance-responsible-trade-art" http://www.art-us.org/content/what-alliance-responsible-trade-art
Contact Witness for Peace to help you set up a meeting with your congressperson. Phone 805-421-9708 email: HYPERLINK "mailto:email@example.com" firstname.lastname@example.org or website www.witnessforpeace.org/southwest