Yet another Xmas present for American workers
WTO legislation sneaks by in the infamous Cheney tie-breaker 51-50 vote!
Everyone knows that Cheney flew in to cast a tie-breaker vote, December 21, for the budget resolution that trounced students and poor people generally. But almost no one has noticed that the WTO got what THEY wanted! How's that for a Christmas present for the working people of America?
Here are the details:
Everyone knows that Cheney flew in to cast a tie-breaker vote, December 21, for the budget resolution that trounced students and poor people generally. But almost no one has noticed that the WTO got what THEY wanted!
Remember the Byrd amendment that Senator Byrd first introduced about 5 years ago to reclaim jurisdiction over how trade penalty moneys are distributed WITHIN the United States? If you are really watching trade issues, you might know that the WTO ruled that the Byrd amendment was illegal, even though it isn't ruled out by any of the trade agreements entered into by the U.S. through fast-track legislation. And you might even know that a couple of years ago, in the fever of an election year, Congress enacted a law that codified the Byrd amendment -- the "Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act (CDSOA)".
But did you know - has anyone noticed? - that the recent infamous budget resolution (also known as "Work, Marriage, and Family Promotion Reconciliation Act of 2005") also repealed the CDSOA?
In an excess of hypocrisy, the Senate had voted its support of the CDSOA just days before -- on December 15 -- in the form of a successful motion by Senator DeWine (R- Ohio). Somehow, within just one week, all but 5 of about 30 Republicans who had been for the CDSOA on December 15 became converted to the WTO position when it came to the vote on December 21. No Democrat was similarly converted, and both Oregon senators - including Gordon Smith - remained firm in rejecting the WTO infringement of the sovereignty of the United States.
SMITH BREAKS WITH SENATE REPUBLICAN BOSSES
Not so many people appreciate that Oregon Senator Gordon Smith broke with the Republican leadership to create the December 21 tie in the first place, joining four other Republicans to bring the opposition number up to 50. Smith basically voted earlier for the cuts, back on April 28, when the conference report came from the House for approval by the Senate, and again on November 3, (Deficit Reduction Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 2005 ), when 5 Republicans joined the Democrats and one Independent, but Smith stayed with the Republican majority. If Nelson of Nebraska had not defected and Corzine had voted, the opposition would have had 49 votes back in November -- and that could have become a 50-50 tie if Smith had switched over for that vote. We have to wonder what changed from November to December. Could the trade issue, impinging on the matter of American sovereignty, have been the deciding factor in Gordon Smith deciding that he could not continue to go along with the Republican leadership in the Senate?
FROM WEBSITE OF SENATOR ROBERT BYRD (D- West Virginia)
News release dated December 15, 2005 --
The United States Senate . . . voted overwhelmingly in support of a law that works to offset the cost of illegally dumped and subsidized foreign products in American markets.
"The Senate has put the White House on notice: American working families should not be sacrificed at the altar of free trade," U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., said after the vote.
Byrd and Republican Senator Mike DeWine of Ohio are fighting an effort by the Bush Administration, with the support of the Republican Congressional Leadership, to undermine American manufacturers and allow foreign traders to illegally dump products on U.S. markets.
The effort to repeal this law comes on the heels of World Trade Organization rulings that claim the CDSOA violates trade rules. However, no trade agreement that the United States has joined prohibits the Byrd Amendment. Senators DeWine and Byrd are confident that the Constitution does not allow an international entity to instruct the United States Congress on how funds can be distributed by the U.S. Treasury.
In response to the misguided WTO rulings, Byrd won Congressional approval of legislation instructing the Bush Administration to add the terms of the CDSOA to existing international trade agreements. Despite this Congressional directive's being signed into law, the Bush Administration has failed substantively to address the CDSOA in trade talks.
"Now is not the time to weaken the hand of our trade negotiators by attempting to repeal one of our nation's most effective trade laws. In fact, now is the time to hold foreign unfair traders more accountable, not less," Byrd said.
New release dated December 20, 2005 --
Senator Byrd on Tuesday said that the Republican Congress and the White House have undercut working families in order to satisfy the World Trade Organization (WTO).
"The Republican Congressional Leadership and the Bush Administration have made it clear where they stand: They stand with foreign trade bureaucrats and not with the working people of this country who suffer from illegal foreign trade," Byrd said.
Last week, the Senate voted overwhelmingly -- 71-20 -- to back the Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act (CDSOA), more commonly called the Byrd Amendment. But, in the final budget package negotiated between the House and Senate Republican Leadership, the CDSOA is repealed after two years.
"CDSOA was enacted to restore conditions of fair trade, so that jobs that should stay in the United States are not destroyed by unfair foreign competition," Byrd stated on Tuesday. "Now is the time to hold foreign unfair traders more accountable, not less! There is no need to repeal the law today, two years from now, or ever."
"If our trading partners don't like this trade law, the solution is not to repeal the law. If our trading partners are offended by the law, I have only two words for them: Stop dumping!" Byrd argued.
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