The Washington Post reports that free trade agreements with Chile and Singapore are cleared for a vote in the House. Democrats in the House were attempting to prevent any such agreements from proceeding by loading them down with much stricter requirements (such as collective bargaining rights laws). Bloomberg is reporting that the measures have passed the House, 277-155 for Singapore and 270-156 for Chile.
These are very important agreements and President Bush should certainly be commended for getting them signed and through the House by such large margins. The word from the White House is that these will be used as templates for other agreements once they’ve been passed by Congress and signed.
Representative John Conyers didn’t like the agreements, saying “At a time of record trade deficits and massive unemployment, we need to pay more attention than ever to the labor implications of these treaties”. Massive unemployment? For recent history, the jobless rate is quite low, below what used to be consider the absolute minimum without inflation, and they’ve fallen again this month. Of course, Conyers is also wrong that free trade is bad for the economy but facts are pesky things.
P.S. Can anyone explain why the House of Representatives is involved? Aren’t these agreements really treaties, which are approved by the Senate?
P.P.S. I think I beat Orrin Judd to this news!