April 09,2008

Grassley comment on House rule change to stop vote on Colombia free trade agreement


TO: Reporters and Editors
RE: Colombia trade agreement
DA: April 9, 2008

Senator Chuck Grassley, Ranking Member on the Senate Committee on Finance, todaymade the following comment regarding the reported decision by the House Democraticleadership to seek a rules change for the pending trade agreement between the United States andColombia.

“Not only would this step by the House be unprecedented, but it effectively tramples acompact between the executive and legislative branches of the federal government. TheColombia trade agreement was negotiated under the authority of the Bipartisan Trade PromotionAuthority Act of 2002. The President bears the responsibility of delivering an agreement thatmeets the negotiating objectives specified in the Act. He did so in this case. Now Congressbears the responsibility of bringing it up for a vote. Trade promotion authority doesn’t mandatea vote tomorrow. In fact, there’s ample time to reach agreement on reauthorizing tradeadjustment assistance. So, a rules change is simply not necessary. The important point is thatwe get to vote on both priorities in Congress this year. I hope Democratic leaders in Congressfulfill their responsibilities to make that happen.”