Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to rewrite House rules to gut the up or down vote requirement at the core of the U.S. fast track trade policy is a truly historic blow to free trade. For today’s Free Trade Fact of the Day we look at Reuters reporting on the unprecedented and harmful nature of Pelosi’s move:
Both Democratic and Republican presidents have relied on fast track since 1974 to win approval of trade pacts. The procedure gives U.S. trading partners some assurance that Congress, which has constitutional jurisdiction over trade, will act quickly on trade agreements negotiate by the White House. It also bars lawmakers from amending trade agreements since that could unravel the pacts.
“Indeed, rejection of this framework as it applies to Colombia will undermine U.S. credibility in negotiations for decades to come, making it more difficult for the United States to level the playing field, eliminate foreign trade barriers and open foreign markets to our goods and services,” Cohen said.