Tuesday, June 14, 2005




Kerry to Force Key CAFTA Vote

I have not always agreed with Sen. John Kerry (D) on trade. I happen to believe the failure of Democrats to articulate a strong position against corporate-written "free" trade deals has been a disaster for the party since Bill Clinton rammed NAFTA down America's throat in the early 1990s. That's why Kerry's move on Tuesday to force a critical vote on the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) is so refreshing. It shows that the Democratic Establishment is starting to figure out that trade is becoming one of the most critical political and economic issues in America.

Kerry's amendment in the Senate Finance Committee is simple - force CAFTA to include stronger provisions to protect American and Central American workers. Specifically, while the bill contains measures to allow corporations to challenge violations of patents and intellectual property, it does not contain the same measures for workers to challenge violations of labor laws. The Kerry amendment simply extends the same protections that corporations get to ordinary workers. To read more about the amendment, see this letter from House Democrats in support of it.

Kerry's amendment is not without precedent. America's trade agreement with Jordan has these protections in it. Thus, the question for Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee is cut and dry: are you going to follow Corporate America's orders and sell out average American workers who are already being ravaged by past trade deals, or are you going to actually stand up for America's middle class?

The vote is scheduled in the Finance Committee for around 10:00 am on Tuesday, June 14. Senators be aware: America is watching to see who you side with.
Kerry to force critical vote on CAFTA:
Text of Kerry's amendment:
Letter from House Democrats in support of the Kerry amendment:
Comparison of the Jordan trade deal to CAFTA:
Members of the Senate Finance Committee who will be voting on the Kerry amendment:



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