WASHINGTON, April 7, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Speaker Nancy
Pelosi and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel issued
the following statement today on the announcement by President Bush that he
will send the Colombia Free Trade Agreement to Congress tomorrow:
"President Bush's statement today regarding his unprecedented decision
to send a free trade agreement to Congress without following established
protocols of Congressional consultation is counter-productive, jeopardizing
prospects for its passage. Under present circumstances, we cannot support
the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement.
"A successful trade agenda depends on a joint partnership between the
Congress and the Administration, where consultation is the norm, not the
exception. Constitutionally, Congress is responsible for regulating
international commerce. The President's disregard toward a co-equal branch
of government serves only to work against the long-term interests of the
United States and Colombia.
"The President's apparent disregard for the economic insecurity faced
by millions of struggling American families highlights a misplaced set of
priorities. Due to Republican intransigence, trade adjustment assistance to
those who have lost their jobs due to trade lapsed last year and
Republicans have blocked efforts to extend and expand these initiatives
this year. Similarly, Democratic efforts to extend unemployment benefits,
help those threatened by foreclosure, and strengthen health care for
America's children have been rebuffed by President Bush.
"When congressional leaders meet with the President on Wednesday, we
will urge him to focus on the economy and work in a bipartisan manner on a
new stimulus package to help America's working families. We must work
together to restore consumer, market, and worker confidence.
"House Democrats are committed to supporting Colombia and the efforts
of President Uribe. We have twice passed the Andean Trade Preference
Extension Act, providing economic development alternatives to illicit
narcotics production and trafficking to create a more stable environment in
Colombia. We have provided additional funds to support Colombia's efforts
to strengthen its judicial system and stem violence against labor leaders.
President Bush's efforts to create a false sense of urgency have no merit
and ultimately ignore these valuable contributions to democracy in
"Despite progress made by President Uribe, Colombia remains a dangerous
place to be a labor activist, and for those who commit these acts of
violence, there is little threat of prosecution or punishment. Sustained
progress on the ground remains a prerequisite for our support."
SOURCE Office of the Speaker of the House