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Thursday, July 28, 2005


Why do Republicans hate Republicans?
A bitterly fought trade accord with six Latin American nations won House passage by the narrowest of margins Thursday morning after Republicans held the vote open well past the usual 15 minutes to muster enough members of their party to ensure approval.

When time for the vote on the Central American Free Trade Agreement expired at 11:17 p.m. local time, the nays outnumbered the yeas by 180 to 175. But, a few minutes past midnight, the GOP leadership, ignoring Democratic protests that the rules were being violated, had rounded up enough votes to win by 217 to 215.

The House vote was effectively the last hurdle - and by far the steepest - facing CAFTA, which will tear down barriers to trade and investment between the United States, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.

Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D., said the Bush administration and Republican leaders strong-armed Republican House members into voting for CAFTA. He said they used highway funds and the threat of stripping chairmanships from Republican House members if they didn't support CAFTA.

"I've seen the Republican leadership break arms on close votes before, but nothing quite this ugly," Pomeroy said.
It sounds like North Carolina was the key battleground state. Rep. Walter "Freedom Fries" Jones continued his delightful anti-Bush stance:
"CAFTA is NAFTA's ugly cousin," said Rep. Walter B. Jones Jr., R-N.C., who said he was speaking on behalf of "the 200,000 North Carolinians who have lost their jobs due to NAFTA."
Two other Republicans from North Carolina tried to vote "No," but Rep. Charles Taylor's vote wasn't counted, and Rep. Robin Hayes voted "No" before he was pummelled into voting for CAFTA:
In the end a 40-minute delay in the vote was broken after the Republican leadership convinced Representative Robin Hayes of North Carolina to switch his vote to yes.

"Unfortunately, as with past trade votes, Republican leadership held the roll open for an hour and twisted arms," said Representative Sherrod Brown of Ohio, who led Democratic opposition to the agreement. "They got people to break their commitments and go back on their word."
Josh Marshall has a discussion thread going on the "vote."

Also, the 15 "Democrats" who voted for CAFTA and richly deserve to join the tens of thousands of Americans who will lose their jobs because of this bill.