Drop Dead, Colombia

By April 10, 2008General

A Washington Post editorial, “Drop Dead, Colombia.”

Ms. Pelosi denies that her intent is to kill the bill, insisting yesterday that Congress simply needs more time to consider it “in light of the economic uncertainty in our country.” She claimed that she feared that, “if brought to the floor immediately, [the pact] would lose. And what message would that send?” But Ms. Pelosi’s decision-making process also included a fair component of pure Washington pique: She accused Mr. Bush of “usurp[ing] the discretion of the speaker of the House” to schedule legislation.

That political turf-staking, and the Democrats’ decreasingly credible claims of a death-squad campaign against Colombia’s trade unionists, constitutes all that’s left of the case against the agreement. Economically, it should be a no-brainer — especially at a time of rising U.S. joblessness. At the moment, Colombian exports to the United States already enjoy preferences. The trade agreement would make those permanent, but it would also give U.S. firms free access to Colombia for the first time, thus creating U.S. jobs. Politically, too, the agreement is in the American interest, as a reward to a friendly, democratic government that has made tremendous strides on human rights, despite harassment from Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez.

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