The good news is, CAFTA passed Congress and President Bush signed the pact into law. Now the bad news:
Only 15 Democrats voted for the pact in the House, a break from the bipartisan support major trade legislation has received in the past in both Republican and Democratic administrations. The pact was approved in the Senate, which is more favorable to trade agreements, 54-45 on June 30.
The closeness of the 217-215 House vote raised questions about other free trade agreements the Bush administration is negotiating, including ones with Bahrain, Thailand and the Andean countries of South America. It also cast a cloud over the fate of U.S.-backed trade talks being undertaken by the World Trade Organization to reduce global trade barriers, known as the Doha round.
Republicans, or at least the one now in the White House, tend to be fair-weather free-traders at best. To get stuff done, the True Beleivers need help on both sides of the aisle. The future doesn’t look so bright on the left side of the aisle – at least not with a Republican President in office.
What a shame that partisan politics seem to be getting in the way of smart policies – the same ones enshrined by Bill Clinton.