Bush Administration Tries to Get Georgia Democrat Whose District Was Hard Hit by Failed NAFTA Trade Policy to Vote for the CAFTA NAFTA Expansion; Leaked Corporate Lobbying Document Notes “Member Interest” in Peanut Program
By Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch
Washington, D.C. – After decades of failed U.S. trade policy and job and farm losses in Georgia’s Second District, Rep. Sanford Bishop, Jr. (D-GA) has indicated that he is reconsidering his opposition to the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), a controversial expansion of NAFTA to six more nations. Bishop declared in 2002 that NAFTA had had a “disastrous impact” on the U.S. economy, yet he recently informed Georgia farm and labor leaders that he is rethinking his opposition to expanding NAFTA. The deal that Bishop is allegedly considering is the same unfulfilled promise to protect against surges in peanut imports that Bishop took in 1997 in exchange for a previous trade vote.
Now, despite overwhelming opposition to a CAFTA NAFTA expansion by almost all House Democrats and most members of the Congressional Black Caucus, reports from the coalition of large corporations pushing CAFTA indicate that Bishop is considering the same failed deal to switch to a “yes” vote on CAFTA. A corporate lobbying document, leaked on July 26th, asks for those with expertise on the peanut program to help an “interested Member.” The leak comes the day after Bishop, who had pledged a “blood oath” to oppose CAFTA, announced he was reconsidering his position. The Bush administration has been unable to pass CAFTA because of strong opposition by Democrats and a sizeable bloc of Republicans whose districts have suffered manufacturing and agricultural losses during NAFTA’s eleven years.
The news that Rep. Bishop is reconsidering his opposition to CAFTA has left many in Washington and Georgia baffled.