April 9 (Bloomberg) — U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, defying President George W. Bush’s demand that Congress endorse a free-trade agreement with Colombia, said lawmakers will vote tomorrow to eliminate a deadline for taking action.
Bush this week sent Congress the trade accord, triggering a 90-day deadline for lawmakers to take a final vote on the agreement.
“The president took his action,” Pelosi said after a meeting of all House Democrats. “I will take mine tomorrow.”
If this goes through, why would any other country work with the United States on trade agreements? It would make a mockery of the phrase, “good-faith negotiations.”
The White House has scheduled a news conference with Cabinet members at 2:15 p.m. to talk about this move. We truly hope it’s just a bargaining maneuver.
UPDATE (1:30 p.m.): Here’s Speaker Pelosi’s statement on the timetable. The Speaker argues: “It’s not really a rule change; it’s sort of in keeping with the rules of the House.”
UPDATE (1:35 p.m.) At the WH news conference:
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson
United States Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab
Secretary of Treasury Henry Paulson, Jr.
Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez
Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer
Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao
Small Business Administrator Steve Preston
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