What Gives? Who's Pulling the Strings of Political Leaders and Representatives?
It was a brutal battle on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. Complete with arm twisting, badgering, and backroom deal making, the final vote landed in favor of the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). At 12:03 a.m. on Wednesday, July 28, the pro-CAFTA forces pushed through a razor-thin victory of 217-215.
Designed to bring about continued job loss, increased illegal immigration -- but more importantly -- the continued erosion of American independence to a faceless international bureaucracy, CAFTA is simply the dress rehearsal to a larger and more destructive agreement: the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). The FTAA, if passed, will encompass 34 countries of the Western Hemisphere, and has been correctly referred to as "NAFTA on steroids."
However, there is great reason to be optimistic. This hard-fought CAFTA battle, even in defeat, has greatly improved our chances for defeating the FTAA. The closeness and fierceness of the CAFTA battle points to the growing opposition to these "free trade" pacts. Now the momentum is swinging our way.
The CAFTA vote made many Americans wonder what's driving this. Others should. We can help them. Consider:
- "House and Ways Committee Chairman Bill Thomas, R-Calif., at one point declared, 'This is not a major trade vote. It's a major political vote.'" Congressional Quarterly Today (7/27/05)
- "Whatever the economic merits, the vote on Wednesday night made it clear that the political appeal of the trade agreement was low. Only 15 Democrats supported the measure. And despite intense pressure from President Bush and House Republican leaders, 27 Republicans voted against the deal; many others badly wanted to do so." New York Times (7/29/05)
But CAFTA proponents kept CAFTA's real significance hidden from the public until after the vote:
- "'The importance of CAFTA all along has been that it would serve as a wind-up to give [the Free trade Area of the Americas] momentum,' said Larry Birns, director of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, a Washington-based research group." The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (7/29/05)
August Links for CAFTA and the FTAA:
Build on the CAFTA Loss to STOP the FTAA!
www.STOPtheFTAA.org Alert - July 28, 2005
Although our nation's independence, our God-given rights, and the American Dream are all in the cross-hairs of the power elite, the fierce CAFTA battle has given us the additional time, knowledge, and fire in the belly that we'll use to beat the FTAA!
House Passes CAFTA by 217-215
AP (via Yahoo!) - July 28, 2005
The U.S. House of Representatives narrowly approved CAFTA at 12:03 AM ET today by a margin of 217-215. Click here to see how each Representative voted on CAFTA.
Narrow CAFTA Vote Margin Provides Little Momentum for FTAA
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution - July 29, 2005
CAFTA supporters may cheer for victory, but the vote's narrow margin will offer little momentum for achieving their ultimate goal, the passage of the Free Trade Area of the Americas.
Behind the Scenes at the CAFTA Vote
New York Times - July 28, 2005
The actual winning margin of 217-215 for CAFTA in the House was subject to intense negotiations during the almost one hour required for the vote early this morning. During this time 8-10 Republican representatives, mostly from textile states, jockeyed over who would be allowed to vote "No" and keep the voters happy back home. In the end several were forced to vote "Yes" in order to give CAFTA a winning margin.
How CAFTA Slipped Through the Cracks
New York Times - July 28, 2005
CAFTA supporters used different tactics and negotiations to gain the last votes needed to pass CAFTA through the House of Representatives. CAFTA's impact on trade and industry will serve as an indicator of the effects of future trade pacts.
CAFTA Isn't Really About Trade
Washington Post - July 27, 2005
A closer look at the reasons which proponents put forward in support of the Central American Free Trade Agreement reveals that the pact is actually more about politics than economics.
Letter to the Editor: Each month we post a letter to the editor from newspapers nationwide asking Americans to realize the threat posed by the FTAA and CAFTA.
Order a STOP the FTAA Starter Kit! Would you like a simple, effective way to spread the word about the FTAA threat? The Starter Kit contains everything you need from conversation-starting buttons, to pass-along cards, pamphlets, and a bumper sticker.
Learn more about the STOP the FTAA campaign's sponsor: The John Birch Society has influenced millions of Americans toward Less Government, More Responsibility, and -- With Gods Help -- a Better World over the past 46 years.
Share in the success of Utah, Indiana, and Arizona. Urge your state legislators to support a resolution to Congress in opposition to the FTAA. Not sure how to get started? Follow this model resolution (Utah's H.R. 9) and become the next state to pass an anti-FTAA resolution.
Arizona passed an anti-FTAA resolution in April! - Arizona State Legislature - April 19, 2005
Both houses of the Arizona state legislature have approved House Concurrent Memorial 2006 that urges "that the United States Congress vote no on any agreement for the United States to enter into a Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA)." This Memorial will be transmitted to the President of the U.S. Senate, the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, and each member of Congress from Arizona.
Utah and Indiana have already passed anti-FTAA resolutions
Each month, more state legislatures are considering anti-FTAA resolutions, including Idaho (HJM004), Illinois (SR0138), Maine (LD 1135), Montana (SRJ 23), New Hampshire (HR 10), New Jersey (ACR 210), and Pennsylvania (HR 64).