||Art & Literature
||Letters to the Editor
Note: Links to other sites will open in a new window.
CAFTA VOTE STORY
The Liberty Committee
Jul. 29, 2005
When the official 15-minute period ended, CAFTA had gone down to defeat,
180 "nays" to 175 "yeas." But the House leadership was so politically
driven to get what they wanted, they broke the House rules: they simply
violated the time limit in order to keep twisting arms and making deals
until they finally had bought or coerced enough votes to pass CAFTA
an hour later.
"Twist some Republican arms until they break in a thousand pieces." That
statement by Representative Jim Kolbe (R-Arizona) describes the
leadership's rabid determination to get the U.S. House to pass the
American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) -- no matter what.
The vote that began late Wednesday night finally ended just after
on Thursday morning, July 28. But Mr. Kolbe's statement doesn't begin to
tell the whole truth. Here's some of what he left out.
Because President Bush and the House leadership knew the vote would be
razor close, the day of the vote began with the president making a rare
appearance on Capitol Hill to speak before a closed-door, members-only
meeting of House Republicans that morning. He even brought Vice
Cheney and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice with him.
And the arm-twisting began.
"The last-minute negotiations for Republican votes resembled the
and dealing on a car lot. Republicans who were opposed or undecided were
courted during hurried meetings in Capitol hallways, on the House floor
and at the White House. GOP leaders told their rank and file that if
wanted anything, now was the time to ask, lawmakers said, and members
advantage of the opportunity by requesting such things as fundraising
appearances by Cheney and the restoration of money the White House has
tried to cut from agriculture programs. Lawmakers also said many of the
favors bestowed in exchange for votes will be tucked away into the huge
energy and highway bills that Congress is scheduled to pass this week
before leaving for the August recess."
-- The Washington Post, July 28,
Yet despite all the bribes and threats (one congressman estimates at
$47 billion in pork, and probably much more), the Republican
would later that night fail to get the U.S. House to pass CAFTA when the
legitimate 15-minute voting period would expire. CAFTA would be stopped
fair and square.
But even though House Republican leaders preach the importance of good
morals, and run for office on "family values," their game plan already
included buying votes and breaking the rules to get what they wanted.
Before the CAFTA debate even began Wednesday evening, House Majority
Leader Tom DeLay stated, "It will be a tough vote, but we will pass
tonight." A bold prediction by Mr. DeLay, considering that the vote was
too close to call, and he knew it. But when you have the power to break
the rules and no qualms about doing so, you can afford to make such
Two hours of debate on CAFTA ended in the U.S. House at 10:59 p.m.
Wednesday night. Representative Ray LaHood (R-Illinois), speaker pro
tempore, then ordered a 15-minute vote -- at the end of which CAFTA had
been defeated! But with the vote kept open for more than one hour after
it began, the "final" vote tally was 217 in favor to 215 against, with
not voting. Or was it? We were led to believe that the two members who
didn't vote, Jo Ann Davis (R-Virginia) and Charles Taylor (R-North
Carolina) who were already on record as going to vote "no" and would
defeated CAFTA, had been persuaded to remain silent. Mr. Taylor's was a
key vote from a textile state that everyone was watching.
Republican leaders "spent much of [the] time wrestling with about 10
rebellious but 'undecided' Republicans, pleading and pressuring one
another to vote for the agreement."
-- New York times, July 29, 2005.
herd mentality dictates that if you can break key resistance, the rest
But on Thursday, the day after the vote, I received a telephone call
a talk radio host in Congressman Taylor's district. He told me he had
asked Mr. Taylor that morning why he didn't vote against CAFTA as he had
pledged. The talk radio host told me "Taylor said he had voted
somebody changed it and Mr. Taylor was furious." "'I voted NO,' Mr.
Taylor announced in a terse statement on Thursday, saying the House
clerk's written log showed his vote...."
-- New York Times, July 29,
So, the Republican leadership claimed their razor-thin victory. On
Thursday, presidential press secretary Scott McClellan bragged, "And on
the Central American Free Trade Agreement, last night's vote was a real
victory for the American people...." Well, Scott...that's what Bill
Clinton told us about NAFTA in 1993.
See how your U.S. representative voted. If he voted against CAFTA,
thank him. If he voted for CAFTA, please express your opinion.
Thousands of you throughout the country worked hard to protect U.S.
sovereignty from the globalists' agenda. It is hard work. Sometimes it
seems thankless -- but we are stronger for every effort we make. Next
time, a hair's breath loss like this could be a narrow victory. Don't
give in and don't give up.
Thank you for your efforts! We won't give up.
The Liberty Committee