Thursday, April 10, 2008

Colombia Free Trade Agreement Killed By House Democrats

Remember the dustup between Hillary Clinton and her former chief strategist, Mark Penn? Remember how he and his company was hired to help the Colombian government get the free trade agreement through to a quick signing? A bill that Clinton opposed? Remember that?

Well maybe then it is a relief to us that the Democratic leadership in Congress saw to it that the bill will never see the light of day in this legislative session. Or ever.

From The Hill:

“The House adopted a rules change Thursday that freezes the Colombia free trade agreement by waiving a requirement that Congress act on it within 90 days. The rule passed mostly along party lines by a vote of 224-195 with one lawmaker voting present.”
Pretty darn slick if you ask me. Republicans, you might imagine, are livid.

“‘The Democrats want to make an unprecedented rule change to abrogate their responsibility under [Trade Promotional Authority],’ said Rep. David Dreier (Calif.), senior Republican on the Rules Committee. ‘They're sabotaging our relationship with our best and closest ally in South America.’”
Best and closest ally? Colombia? Is it because the Bush Regime has completely alienated all of the rest of South America? All except the one country whose government agencies are complicit in the drug trade which is institutionalized there? All except for the one South American country that actively suppresses trade unions?

That ally?

So while Democrats and Republicans trade barbs over who broke procedural rules first, the bill remains dead.

As the story mentioned, the vote pretty much went down party lines, but then I had to ask myself about that 224 number. I’m pretty sure there are more Democrats in the House than that, so I read further.

Yep, ten Democrats voted against the rule change, and six Republicans voted for it. The Republican congressmen who voted for it, voted for it, surprisingly enough, because non-union overseas competition has taken jobs away from their constituents.

Ten Democrats voted with the Republicans, and with Bush. One of them was my congressman, Congressman Nick Lampson.

Now I know that Lampson represents a conservative district, and has to get his “Votes with Nancy Pelosi” numbers below 77%, but now I have to ask whether that vote was worth the voter angst that is going to result. Truly.

There are plenty of bills, I think, that Congressman Lampson can bolt to the minority over, bills that fit his “Blue Dog” brand of Democratic politics. But this one rates right up there with his FISA vote, the one to surrender our constitutionally guaranteed rights against unlawful search and seizure.

And I know that the question will always be asked of me “what are you going to do, Half, vote for Pete Olson?” And you know that it’s impossible to vote a straight Democratic ticket and vote for Olson.

But I have to ask now, with votes like this, does it really make a difference who represents the 22nd district?


Guillermo Lopez said...

it doesnt make a difference, both olson and lampson will probably vote the same way, maybe you could abstain from voting in that race like many progressive democrats probably will.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it makes a difference. We need the numbers to maintain the chairs of the congressional committees. Voting for Lampson will serve a purpose, maintaing majority status. That's it.

TexasSusan said...

I'm not too worried about keeping the House. That's going to happen with or without Lampson.

What worries me is that Lampson will sap money and effort from winnable area races (Sherrie Matula, Rick Noriega, Joe Jaworski, etc.) and once again suppress Hispanic turnout with mailers touting his anti-immigration stance.

That said, I will pull a straight Dem ticket, which will include Lampson. And, I will applaud politely when he enters the room. However, that's it. No money, no sweat, no fret.

Lampson is already worried about how he can keep the Democratic Presidential nominee out of the district because he doesn't want to be seen with either of them.

When he wants help, tell him to go ask his GOP friends. He crossed the aisle for them, surely they will cross the aisle for him. Right?

Earl said...

Actually Hal, you can vote a straight Democratic ticket and then go down to the odd ball race and mark a non-Democrat. This cancels your straight ticket vote ONLY for that office, replacing it with your alternative choice.

To be fair to Lampson, he's gotten a 0% rating from the National Right to Life organization, while John Cornyn got 100% for the votes they highlighted. Olson will probably get 100% too, considering the whackdoodle groups that are supporting him. So there is that difference--no brag, just fact.

Hal said...

Now don't go and tell a Democrat how to go and cast a vote for the Dark Side, Earl. I vote a straight ticket because I know what I am about. I vote party, not person. The latter only disappoints at some point anyway.