As bad as many conservatives thought the Clintons were, at least they helped forge a bipartisan consensus on free trade. They helped pass NAFTA and demonstrated leadership in helping to create the World Trade Organization. But now that Bill and Hillary Clinton have been pushed aside, Sen. Barack Obama’s Democratic Party is proudly announcing that it has every intention of becoming fiercely protectionist. This at a time that the U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon is calling for renewed leadership on free trade to help solve the world hunger crisis. According to National Journal, the Democrats in Congress could care less:
Claiming an election-year mandate from the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, House and Senate Democrats Wednesday introduced labor-backed legislation to effectively call a time-out on free-trade agreements.
The bill would require GAO to review existing trade deals by June 10, 2010, and an analysis of how the deals stack up against labor, environmental and safety standards enumerated in the bill.
If gaps are found by GAO, the president would be required to submit renegotiation plans for current trade pacts before negotiating new ones and congressional consideration of pending trade pacts. Committees of jurisdiction would then review the renegotiation plans.
Brown acknowledged the bill was unlikely to become law this year. He said he has already been in touch with the Obama campaign about it and that they share similar principles on trade policy.