As the House Ways and Means Committee was getting geared up for Wednesday’s hearing with U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab, labor and environmental groups were busy on Tuesday getting out their message on the perils associated with fast track and the administration’s recent trade agreements.
On a Tuesday morning conference call organized by Public Citizen, Carl Pope of the Sierra Club, Leo Gerard of United Steelworkers and others stressed repeatedly that the 2006 elections showed that Democrats will meet with political success if they continue to hammer Bush trade policies. And they argued that a freshmen Dems, many of whom sounded economically populist themes during the campaign, will be a major force for change.
Indeed, of the 42 freshmen Dems, 39 signed a letter to Ways and Means Chair Charles Rangel back in January. It characterizes Cafta as a “job-killing” agreement and calls for a new approach to trade policy.
Interestingly, Gabrielle Giffords – who has been praised as a “fair trader” by unions – was not on the letter. A call to her office, after several days of back and forth, has yielded no explanation or comment.