Sen. John Kerry: 'Politics took over.' Boy, I wish he was sailing on his new yacht.
A deal to push long-stalled U.S. free-trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama through Congress crumbled Thursday as Republicans blocked a key session in a dispute over aid to workers. The White House on Tuesday said it had reached a compromise to move ahead on trade pacts and fund through 2014 a program that offers health care and retraining to workers who lose jobs to overseas markets. But Republicans boycotted a hearing of the Senate Finance Committee, saying that President Barack Obama's Democratic Party wanted to extend the Trade Adjustment Assistance as a political concession to labor-union allies. Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, the top Republican on the committee in the Democratic-led Senate, complained that the Obama administration was trying to "jam" the legislation at a late hour ahead of the Independence Day holiday.
But the AFL-CIO -- the main U.S. labor confederation and key election force for the Democrats -- remains opposed. It doubts the job-growth figures and charges that the trade agreement would benefit corporations instead of workers.
Are our union members able to really compete with the labor market overseas or will we now employed non-union people pick up the unearned compensation packages? The country Greece comes to mind.