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Trading Colombia FTA for Economic Stimulus Package is Unacceptable

Press Release

Date: Oct. 30, 2008
Issues: Trade

A member of the House Trade Working Group and co-chair of the International Workers Rights Caucus, today released the following statement in response to White House spokeswoman Dana Perino's assertion that President Bush could support an economic stimulus package if it is tied to the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

"After 8 years of disastrous economic policies that have led us into recession, President Bush is insisting on one last hurrah for big business in the form of the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

"The President's offer to grant Democrats his support for an economic stimulus package in exchange for the Colombia FTA is unacceptable and should be rejected.

"I continue to support efforts by this Congress to invest in our crumbling infrastructure and put the American people back to work. But tying an economic stimulus package to the Colombia FTA would be at best counterproductive and at worst downright harmful.

"At a time when our economy is hemorrhaging jobs, we should be forging a new direction on trade that protects American workers, not repeating the mistakes of the past.

"Furthermore, Colombia's record of violence against labor organizers is deplorable, with murders actually on the rise in 2008. Our steadfast commitment to basic human rights can never be used as a bargaining chip.

"I am all for compromise. But given the flawed nature of the Colombia FTA, our opposition should be non-negotiable."