Election Baggage Postpones Colombia Trade Agreement


Congress just denied President Bush by voting to delay consideration of the controversial trade agreement with Colombia until after the November election.

President Bush wanted Congress to approve a not-too-expansive trade pact with Colombia. But, this being an election year, a simple trade issue has become a vehicle for back and forth about jobs, the economy, and national security. The agreement was also problematic for the Democratic presidential candidates, who rely on the support of organized labor and large corporations.

OK here's how all the major players played it:

Pelosi: The Speaker of the House preempted Bush's plan to force a vote, by unilaterally (and legally) changing the rules of the House. The existing rules required the House to vote on a bill submitted by the president within 90 days. But, Pelosi played her cards, saying that she would not allow a vote until the president agreed to increased economic aide for Americans. So today, the House voted to delay.

Condi Rice: The secretary of state played the national security card on this one. She said that it is imperative to relations with US ally Colombia, and other US interests in South America, that the bill be approved immediately. Oh, well.

To find out where the presidential candidates, an ex prez, and other high-profile surrogates stood on the deal, read more.

The Wannabes: McCain was with Bush on this one, and favored the agreement. Obama and Clinton — not so much.

Penn-gate: Hillary's top adviser Mark Penn was fired from her campaign on Sunday, because he was advising Colombia on ways to push the agreement Hillary opposes. Oops.

Bubba: Unfortunately Hillary can't fire her hubby for disagreeing with her. Bill was with Bush on this one, and favored the agreement with Colombia.

Democrats do not intend on killing the pact, just delay its approval. Do you think it's better to consider the agreement when all the baggage of the election has gone away?

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