Rep. Paulsen Expects Bipartisan Deal on Trade Pacts

Monday, 10 Oct 2011 10:18 AM

By Greg McDonald

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They don’t agree on much, but President Barack Obama and Republicans appear finally to be on the same page when it comes to trade agreements with Columbia, Panama, and South Korea that have been tied up for years.
The House is expected to pass the three trade pacts this week and Senate approval is expected to follow within a few weeks, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported Monday.
“I see overall bipartisan support for all the agreements,” Minnesota Republican Rep. Erik Paulsen told the newspaper. “Our constituents expect us to be results-oriented. This is an opportunity to work across the aisle.”
Negotiations on the trade agreements, which would eliminate or change tariff restrictions on a variety of goods, were started in 2006 under President George W. Bush.
There are still disagreements over how much benefit they will be to the U.S. economy in the long run, but the Star Tribune reported that both sides are under pressure to get something done given the gridlock over other economic and budget issues.
“Republicans have got a lot of reasons to cooperate on the trade deals for a win-win situation,” Norm Ornstein, a political analyst with the American Enterprise Institute, told the Star Tribune. “It demonstrates that they are not just obstructionists. And Obama would like to have a victory.”

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