House passes Peru trade deal, Dems divided

The House of Representatives has passed the United States-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement. This deal was signed in April, 2006, but it is the first trade agreement to come before Congress since the change in party control in the November, 2006, US midterm elections.

Given the centrality of trade to the outcome of those elections–particularly in many swing districts–it is hardly surprising that the vote split the majority party. The vote was 285-132, with 176 Republicans and only 109 Democrats in favor. In other words, over half (53.2%) of Democrats opposed the bill (as did about one in eight Republicans).

After the change of party control, both the US and Peruvian governments agreed to modify the deal to include labor and environmental standards in order to ensure passage. It worked, even if the final vote revealed the Democrats’ continuing deep divisions on trade.

The bill still has to pass the US Senate, but that is presumably a foregone conclusion.

The pact was originally ratified by the Peruvian congress easily (79-14, with 7 abstentions) in late June, 2006. (Thanks to a Wikipedia editor for the reference.) I wonder if the Peruvian congress had to re-authorize it after the additional standards were negotiated, or if under Peruvian law such changes are within executive prerogative. (Boz answers this question in the comments: Yes, Peru’s congress did reauthorize the revised agreement. Thanks, boz!)

0 thoughts on “House passes Peru trade deal, Dems divided

  1. The Peruvian Congress did have to re-authorize it and did so in June 2007 almost immediately after the conditions were announced.

    The Colombian legislature has also already reauthorized the agreement with the new conditions attached.

  2. Excuse my ignorance but how come this goes to the House of Reps, not just two-thirds of the Senate?

  3. Officially, it’s a trade agreement, not a treaty, under US law. Small distinction that really only matters because it changes the ratification process.

  4. The US Senate approved the US-Peru trade deal.

    Not that there was ever much doubt.

    The vote was 77-18. The only Republican to vote NO was Kyl of Arizona. The other nays were by Democrats, plus Bernie Sanders (Ind.-Vermont).

    The full “no” list:

    Akaka (D-HI)
    Boxer (D-CA)
    Brown (D-OH)
    Byrd (D-WV)
    Casey (D-PA)
    Dorgan (D-ND)
    Feingold (D-WI)
    Harkin (D-IA)
    Klobuchar (D-MN)
    Kyl (R-AZ)
    Leahy (D-VT)
    McCaskill (D-MO)
    Reed (D-RI)
    Reid (D-NV)
    Sanders (I-VT)
    Stabenow (D-MI)
    Tester (D-MT)
    Whitehouse (D-RI)

    The following did not vote:

    Biden (D-DE)
    Clinton (D-NY)
    Dodd (D-CT)
    McCain (R-AZ)
    Obama (D-IL)

    (Quick, what do these men and woman have in common?)

  5. Why did Kyl oppose the final deal? In his own words:

    I decided to oppose the Peru Free Trade Agreement today not because I have any quarrel with Peru or because I am in any way opposed to expanding our bilateral trade relations with Peru. In fact, I strongly support the original Peru Free Trade Agreement.

    My opposition is rooted entirely in the agreement reached by the U.S. Trade Representative and members of the U.S. House of Representatives, which forces the United States to renegotiate the Peru, Panama, and Colombia Free Trade Agreements by adding new requirements for labor and environmental protections and weakened traditional trade agreement protections for certain U.S. intellectual property related to pharmaceutical products.

    (Interesting how he sort of sneaks that reference to a special interest group in there in what is otherwise written like a statement of principle!)

    Thanks to boz for the pointer; boz also notes that the negotiated free-trade agreement with Panama is now in trouble “because the [just-elected] speaker of their legislature allegedly killed a US soldier.” In <a href="1992.

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