The following article is from the Cowboy State Free Press:
By Bill McCarthy
CHEYENNE – U.S. Senate Finance Committee Republicans including Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi blame Democrats for delaying three job-creating “free-trade agreements” though Republicans refused to mark-up the legislation.
Enzi participated in the Republican boycott Thursday of the markup of Korea, Colombia and Panama trade agreements in the Senate Finance Committee.
Markup is a process where congressional committees debate, amend and rewrite proposed legislation.
Republicans had been saying for months that they believe the agreements will provide jobs, but the Democratic Obama administration was delaying those opportunities.
After the boycott, the Democrats said that Republicans were delaying job creation.
“Not meeting our commitment today means someone who is without a job and struggling to pay the mortgage, the car payment or their child’s tuition will have to wait,” said Sen. Max Baucus.
The Montana Democrat is chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.
“It means workers who have been laid off will have to wait to get the training they need to get a new job, and the pride that comes with going to work every day,” Baucus said in a statement.
But an Enzi spokeswoman said the committee was not being allowed adequate time for debate and inclusion of funding to retrain workers put out of their jobs by “free-trade agreements” was not appropriate within the agreements.
“First, there was never sufficient time allotted to fully go over the 97 Republican and (Democratic) amendments. Sen. Enzi thinks it is important to have enough time to offer, discuss and vote on input for these very important trade agreements, and two hours was woefully insufficient,” said Enzi Press Secretary Elly Pickett on Friday. “Secondly, even more time should have been allowed in light of the Trade Adjustment Assistance being attached to the South Korea free trade agreement. TAA should not have been globbed onto a free trade agreement. It should be debated and voted on separately.”
The $1 billion Trade Adjustment Assistance spends money to aid those whose jobs have been displaced by “free-trade agreements” with such things as retraining.
Earlier in the week Baucus and Sen. Orrin Hatch, the ranking member on the committee and a Republican from Utah, said they had a deal with the White House with Trade Adjustment Assistance included.
But that apparently faded with the boycott.
The House Ways and Means Committee announced today only the three trade deals will be on the agenda when the panel meets Thursday. The House is run by a Republican majority and the Trade Adjustment Assistance program will not be considered with the trade deals.
Source: Cowboy State Free Press
Posted by Haylie Shipp