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News :: Environment
CAFTA Passes U.S. Senate; Campaign for House Begins
02 Jul 2005
CAFTA can be defeated if people act now.
CAFTA, the Central American Free Trade Agreement, passed the U.S. Senate this week. This trade agreement is a lot like the infamous NAFTA agreement of 1994 in that it will displace American workers and empower corporations with new extralegal rights in America as well as Central America. U.S. factories will move overseas for cheap labor, and international corporations will be able to use CAFTA extra-legal processes to beat down already weak labor and environmental laws south of Texas (and in Texas too).

However, passage is not assured in the House because elected representatives are aware of voter backlash on free trade. The trade pact emerged in the wake of the failed FTAA talks in Miami, and if it is defeated both CAFTA and FTAA may be off-the-horizon for quite some time. At least until after the 2006 congressional elections.

The Steelworkers have set up a toll free number for you to call your representative and Senators: 1-866-340-9281. Just call this number and ask for your rep. by name or tell them your zip code; it's easy. Also email them by finding their Web sites online. The House of Representatives is on recess until July 11, and the vote will come sometime between July 11 and Aug. 1.

Another good article on CAFTA can be found at COMMONDREAMS at:
www.commondreams.org/views05/0701-28.htm.

Calling your rep. is better than doing nothing and such citizen campaigns have worked before. For instance, the USDA Organic Standard approval process of the late 1990s produced strong regulations after a weak draft report because of 300,000 citizen letters and postcards. The Roadless Rule in the National Forests that the Bush administration has spent 5 years trying to get rid of was only put in place because of citizen lobbying backing up the efforts of a few pro-environment policy makers.

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