Did Fitzpatrick Cast Deciding Vote for CAFTA to Gain Favor with GOP Leaders, Win Corporate Campaign Contributors or Get Pork Barrel Funds?
By Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Ignoring the will of his constituents and the devastating results that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has had on his state, Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) became a deciding “yes” vote for a six-nation NAFTA expansion called the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), which eked through the House of Representatives 217 to 215. If Fitzpatrick had voted against CAFTA, a 216-216 tie would have resulted in CAFTA being rejected. Many of Fitzpatrick’s constituents were opposed to both trade agreements, as Pennsylvania has lost nearly a quarter of its manufacturing jobs since NAFTA.1
“That a member of Congress who is supposed to represent one of the U.S. states hardest hit by NAFTA job loss, and whose constituents care deeply about poverty in Central America, would become a deciding vote to expand NAFTA to six more nations is unimaginable, given the damage the NAFTA model has proven to cause to U.S. working people and Mexico’s poor,” said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch.
Given Fitzpatrick’s espoused dedication to creating good U.S. jobs and protecting labor rights and the environment, his constituents are wondering why the new congressman would support the controversial agreement. Prior to the vote, Fitzpatrick had informed numerous people that he would vote “no” on CAFTA.