The Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) passed the House last night by a mere 2 votes, just like the bitter 'Fast Track' fight in 2001. Congress continues to endorse our'free trade' regime, but by a narrow margin. It should come as no surprise to folks that the Democrats are the overwhelming 'no' votes and that Republicans are overwhelmingly 'yes.' Afterall, partisan politics rule the day in Washington. But, there were Democratic turn coats -- 15 to be exact -- who voted for CAFTA last night:
Melissa Bean, Illinois (8th District), Jim Cooper, Tennessee (5th District), Norm Dicks, Washington (6th District), Henry Cuellar, Texas (28th District), Ruben Hinojosa, Texas (15th District), William Jefferson, Louisiana (2nd District), Jim Matheson, Utah (2nd District), Gregory Meeks, New York (6th District), Dennis Moore, Kansas (3rd District), Jim Moran, Virginia (8th District), Solomon Ortiz, Texas (27th District), Ike Skelton, Missouri (4th District), Vic Snyder, Arkansas (2nd District), John Tanner, Tennessee (8th District), Edolphus Towns, New York (10th District)
And, in case any of you were wondering, here are the Democratic Senators who helped the Senate pass CAFTA 54-45:
The majority of Democrats voted against NAFTA as well, back in '94, although there was a much larger defection -- afterall, Clinton was the one pushing it. Clearly, this is an issue that Democrats could unify on, if they weren't simply the flip side of the corporate coin. Ultimately, I didn't have doubts that CAFTA would pass. And if such a bill can pass with the help of Democrats after the past 11 years of NAFTA -- with all we know about it -- we are truly lost if we keep putting all our eggs in the Democratic basket. Don't take this to mean that I think folks shouldn't be engaged in electoral politics, especially at the local level. But the organizing landscape is a lot bigger.