noimage Bush introduced the CAFTA implementing legislation on June 23. Bill numbers are HR 3054 and S 1307. Senate Finance has scheduled mark-up on Tuesday June 28. Bill could come to Senate floor before July 4 recess if Republicans think they have the votes. House is less likely -- still 20 or so votes short.


" House GOP leaders will wait until July to bring the Central America Free Trade Agreement to the floor, although a House Ways and Means Committee markup this week is still a possibility, congressional and business sources said today. House Ways and Means Chairman Thomas is weighing whether to push the bill through committee this week, because doing so would start a 15-legislative day clock by which the House must vote on it, under timelines established in the presidential trade negotiating authority law. A Thursday markup would ensure that the House votes on the trade deal by the end of July, regardless of whether the votes are there to pass it, a House GOP source said. Alternatively, Thomas could hold off on the markup until closer to the date of expected floor action."

Call your Senators and Representative today at 866-340-9279 Ask them where they stand on CAFTA. If they oppose, urge them to make this public. If they are uncommitted, tell them you want them to take a stand ...

Keep the pressure on over July 4th recess. Check your Representative's schedule. Be there with signs. Ask for public commitment to vote No on CAFTA.

* for the right of communities to protect the health and welfare of their residents without being over-ruled by secret trade panels.

* for keeping jobs here at home

* for the right to protect the environment without our government being sued by corporations

If they are pro-CAFTA, ask them to reconsider and put the best interests of their constitutents first. Make the same points as for the uncommitted.

We must STAY VIGILANT! Right now we have the votes to stop CAFTA but the administration is busy cutting deals like finding sweetners for the sugar industry which has been opposing CAFTA.

Meanwhile Bush will try to deflect attention away from CAFTA by talking about other issues to distract the public and the media. Don't be fooled. Bush will wait for the best timing to introduce the bill when he thinks he has the votes and then Republicans could call for a vote at 3:00 am as they have done before. We must be watchful and organized.


The Senate Finance Committee has scheduled its "mock" mark-up of the CAFTA bill for Tuesday, June 14. Chairman Thomas of the House Ways and Means Committee has said he will hold his committee's "mock" mark-up immediately following on June 14 or Wednesday, June 15.

Why a "mock" mark-up? Because the usual legislative process is not followed for trade bills. CAFTA has already been negotiated and signed between the U.S. and the Central American countries and the Dominican Republic. The bill which would come to Congress is written by the administration in order to conform U.S. laws to the provisions of the trade agreement. The bill would just implement CAFTA.

Once the President introduces the bill, the FAST-TRACK clock starts ticking set in motion by a law Congress passed several years ago! The bill cannot be modified and must come to a vote in the House within 60 days and in the Senate within 90 days.

Since the bill cannot be “marked-up” in committee, Senate Finance and House Ways and Means are holding “mock” mark-ups to allow Members to state their positions. There is some chance that Senate Finance might vote no, which would be remarkable given that they have always supported trade agreements in the past. Even if they vote no, CAFTA can not be killed in committee, but the symbolic effect this would have would be enormous.

There can be no amendments even on the floor to reflect concerns voters have about the impact of CAFTA. It will just be an up or down vote. The Republican leadership in Congress will call for a vote as soon as they think they have the votes.