What: All Issues : Labor Rights : Preventing Workers' Rights From Being Eroded by International Trade Agreements : H.R. 2738, H.R. 2739. U.S.-Chile Trade and U.S. Singapore Trade/Vote on Rules of Debate on Two Free Trade Agreements (Between the U.S. and Chile and the U.S. and Singapore) Which, Progressives Argued, Failed to Allocate Sufficient Time for House Floor Consideration. (2003 house Roll Call 415)
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H.R. 2738, H.R. 2739. U.S.-Chile Trade and U.S. Singapore Trade/Vote on Rules of Debate on Two Free Trade Agreements (Between the U.S. and Chile and the U.S. and Singapore) Which, Progressives Argued, Failed to Allocate Sufficient Time for House Floor Consideration.
house Roll Call 415     Jul 23, 2003
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Loss

Before legislation can be considered on the House floor, a rule drafted by the House Rules Committee (which acts, in essence, as an arm of the majority party leadership) must be adopted to set parameters on debate. The subject of this vote was a rule governing debate on two free trade agreements; one agreement intended to promote trade between the U.S. and Chile and the other agreement involved free trade between the U.S. and Singapore. Progressives opposed the rule based on their objections to the trade agreements. In the view of Progressives, the trade agreements would exacerbate the trade deficit in the United States (a trade "deficit" in this context means that the U.S. annually pays more money for imported products-those made in other countries-than it earns in exporting U.S.-made goods to those countries). Secondly, Progressives argued that similar free-trade agreements (such as NAFTA) have enabled U.S. firms to export jobs to other countries at the expense of U.S. workers. Additionally, Progressives contended that free-trade agreements (like the proposals under consideration here) weaken labor protections for U.S. workers and encourage environmental degradation by allowing corporations unfettered access to commodities in pristine natural environments. Progressives also voiced objections specific to the rule; in their view, the two-hour allotment of time provided in the rule for debate on both trade measures was insufficient to allow a vibrant discussion of the issues surrounding free trade agreements (see Roll Call Vote #416). Despite their objections to the rule, it was adopted 281-144 and the two trade agreements were scheduled for debate on the House floor.

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