Dems split already - on Vietnam trade bill

This is the second day of the lame duck session and already we've seen an RCV in the House splitting the Dems right down the middle on a trade issue.

HR 5602 (no short title) would have had the effect, if passed, of requalifying Vietnam for nondiscriminatory trade treatment under US law (what I think they used misleadingly to call most favored nation status).

A companion bill, S 3495, was introduced in the Senate by Max Baucus, and reported on (written report available) by the Finance Committee in August. (No substantive floor action on the bill yet.)

This exercise is a bipartisan one: the Senate bill is cosponsored by, amongst others, Kerry and Carper, and the House bill by Rahmbo and the TX Johnson.

What happened?

Yesterday, the House bill was taken on the floor as a suspension (2/3 majority (present and voting) needed) and failed 228-161 - which I make 21 short of the required vote to pass.

Both parties were split - but only one party is about to take control!

The numbers: R138-66, D90-94.

I've not had time to check all the names but I'm struggling to discern a clear left-right split between the yeas and nays.

Of the leadership names, Pelosi, Hoyer, Clyburn, Degette (challenging Clyburn for Whip) and Rambo voted in favor; Murtha did not vote.

The story is that the naysayers were inspired by a combination of protectionism and human rights concerns (Zoe Lofgren to the fore in pressing these).

Now, to judge by the numbers on the Vietnam bill vote, trade is not exactly shaping as the wedge issue of choice for the GOP in the 110th House.

But the idea I've seen expressed around the sphere that NAFTA/CAFTA snafus - the open sore of Chapter 11 suits, for instance - would give 110th Dems a cause to unite around seems a tad like wishful thinking right now.

Tags: 2006 House Leadership Elections, Clyburn, Diana DeGette, HR 5602, Majority Whip, Pelosi, S 3495, Vietnam Trade Bill, Zoe Lofgren (all tags)

Comments

1 Comment

Do you really want it any other way?

Does anyone really want a Democratic party where all decisions are made by the leadership, and not by elected officials voting to represent the needs and desires of their varied constituencies?

Does anyone really want a Democratic party for which authority and unity are more important the honest debate and compromise, and in which dissent is crushed behind closed doors?

Does anyone really want a Democratic party where, like the Republicans, any deviance from the pre-decided 'official' party-line stance is seen as treason, and punished in the public arena?

I don't. That's why I support Democrats, and not Republicans, in the first place...

So really, I don't think it's meaningful to echo the talking-point that the Democratic party is 'split' on this issue or that one. That's fine. Our democratic ideals allow for that.

by dreamer 2006-11-14 12:08PM | 0 recs

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