CAFTA Deals Watchdog Report: July 4th Fireworks Over Fake “Sugar Deal”

Why recycling the same offer over and over only counts as a CAFTA “sugar deal” to those who already support CAFTA…

By Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch

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Washington, D.C. – How many times must a deal be recycled before members of Congress can call it a deal? After several weeks of being presented the exact same non-deal on sugar by a Bush administration unwilling to consider substantive proposals on CAFTA’s sugar provisions, Senators Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) declared they would support CAFTA because of the administration’s “new” sugar proposal. Senator Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) also used the deal as political cover, while Senators Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) are also reported to have voted for CAFTA based on the deal. The industry and many other Senators and House members representing beet or cane constituencies rejected the “offer” as a meaningless recycling of a nothingburger – the so-called offer comprised only what the administration can do under the existing farm bill and does not go beyond that bill’s 2007 expiration. As for the senators – apparently they intended to support CAFTA no matter what.