NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


March 14, 2008

President Bush soon will take one of the biggest risks of his presidency by forcing Congress to vote on Colombian free trade without Democratic leaders' consent.  A big gamble, yes, but it's the only way to win, according to Investor's Business Daily.  For two years, Congress has dithered about its passage, constantly changing the terms of approval, and in the end just stalling because most members can't justify openly scuppering it.  

America's economy and strategic interests have been held hostage to partisan politics for too long.  There's no good reason not to pass the Colombia pact, says IBD:

  • Colombia is our best ally in the hemisphere and, coming up from a long war, has a sharply improving democracy and human rights record.
  • Right now it's under threat from FARC, an Al-Qaeda-like transnational terrorist gang bankrolled with $300 million from Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez.

Meanwhile, exports can help in America's effort to stave off recession, says IBD:

  • U.S. exports grew 12.6 percent in 2007, and exports to free-trade countries grew faster still.
  • Last year, exports accounted for 40 percent of U.S. growth.

Bush will put the Colombia pact forward after Easter.  Presidents usually submit trade treaties to Congress and rely on its leaders to assemble the 'yes' votes.  Bypassing the leadership could mean failure -- and with it, the end of our alliance with Colombia and the hemispheric triumph of Hugo Chavez, says IBD.

Source: Editorial, "Bush Raises Stakes On Free Trade," Investor's Business Daily, March 12, 2008.


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