Thursday, July 28, 2005

US House passes Central American trade pact

US House passes Central American trade pact

The U.S. House of Representatives narrowly approved a free-trade agreement with Central America on Thursday, handing
President Bush a hard-fought victory in difficult times for efforts to expand global trade.

The Republican-controlled House voted 217-215 in favor of the U.S.-Central American Free Trade Agreement, or CAFTA, after a final push by Bush and top aides to win over many reluctant Republicans.

Only 15 of the House's 202 Democrats backed CAFTA, and 27 Republicans opposed it.

Leach: Yea. Bush and DeLay can always count on Jim when they REALLY need him.

UPDATE from David Loebsack:

Indeed, when the chips are down, our incumbent congressman comes through for his party. This vote is just one more tangible piece of evidence regarding what should be obvious to all. Every day of this campaign, I hope folks will remember what Jim Leach said on election night as it appeared that Bush was headed for victory, "It's looking like a wonderful night for our party." (Reported in the Cedar Rapids Gazette the day after the election).

Since I began exploring the possibility of running for this seat, I have been calling for a moratorium on such trade pacts. We know the widespread negative effects of unfettered globalization. We also have enough evidence available regarding NAFTA to know that such agreements, while they certainly have their advantages and disadvantages for those affected, are very harmful to the average worker in all countries and in the case of Mexico, the small-scale landowner in particular. The predictions about such negative effects have come to pass.

Our incumbent congressman often refers to himself as an economic conservative. We know that those are in effect code words for his preference for big business and his lack of concern for workers. In that regard, perhaps one of the worst things about CAFTA is that it weakens labor standards in the region affected. And on the home front, Jim Leach recently voted for a series of Republican measures concerning OSHA standards that have the real potential to benefit businesses at the expense of the health and well-being of workers. (See votes 369-372 at

The CAFTA vote is, I believe, just one more reason why we need to replace Jim Leach with someone who will work every day to represent the vast majority of Iowans in the second district. A modern-day congressional campaign is a long and arduous task. I hope you will join me because with your help we can win and we can send a representative to congress who will vote consistently for the interests of the workaday citizens of the our district.

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