The long-delayed free trade agreements with South Korea, Panama, and Colombia are expected to pass Congress Wednesday. But a substantial number of Democrats still oppose them, causing division in the party, The Hill reports
Many Democrats will support the pacts, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer told the news service. “I don’t know what the numbers are — we’re not whipping these bills, per se — but I do expect them to pass with bipartisan support.”
Still, many liberal Democrats say the accords benefit multinational corporations and hurt workers. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, said the agreements will “facilitate the outsourcing of American jobs overseas and fail to adequately protect the environment.”
Rep. Mike Michaud, D-Maine, said they will “undermine U.S. manufacturing at a time when we need to rebuild it.”
And Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., said the agreements will spark “phenomenal job creation — the only problem is the jobs are being created in foreign nations.”
Other left-wingers say the pacts don’t do enough to safeguard workers overseas, particularly in Colombia.
Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, which strongly opposes the accords, says the key votes in Congress will actually be cast by freshman Republicans, many of whom campaigned against agreements that put the United States at the mercy of international trade rules.
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