CAFTA Vote Count

July 28, 2005

From our friends at Rep. Ron Paul’s Liberty Committee…

“With just two weeks to go until the August recess, Republican House leaders are possibly facing do-or-die time for the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). The Republican whip operation is running at full throttle, making deals on China policy and textile production at a fast clip in the hopes of wooing just enough members off the fence to pass the pivotal trade pact.” (The Hill newspaper, July 20, 2005)

Yes, time is running out. Closed-door deals are being made. Arms are being twisted. Pressure builds as not-so-subtle taxpayer-funded bribes are offered.

“At a closed-door meeting of House Republicans yesterday, Rep. Bill Thomas (Calif.) sidled up to the lectern and hinted that the leadership might look more favorably on lawmakers’ requests for highways and bridges if they vote for the Central American Free Trade Agreement, according to three GOP witnesses.” (The Washington Post, July 21, 2005)

In other words, “Want that highway project back home? You had better vote for CAFTA. Want that new bridge? You had better vote for CAFTA even though you know it is bad for America.”

One of the first House members to be bought off was Congressman Phil English (R-Penn.). Mr. English had always opposed CAFTA, but just a few days ago he sold out. He now says he is “comfortable” voting for CAFTA. This puts the pro-CAFTA forces one critical vote closer to having the 218 votes they need to pass it in the U.S. House.

What’s the vote count? According to Congress Daily, 105 House members will vote “yes” or are leaning to vote “yes” on CAFTA with 166 members who will vote “no” or are leaning to vote “no.” That leaves 163 House members who are undecided or aren’t saying. To stop CAFTA, we must convince at least 53 of those 163 members to vote against CAFTA.

The House will likely vote on CAFTA Wednesday or Thursday of next week. The vote will be extremely close — just like the vote was on the Medicare prescription-drug bill where House leaders were willing to resort to bribes and out-right threats to win.

“According to the administration and House aides, the White House has authorized Republican leaders to secure votes with whatever is at hand, from amendments [read pork-barrel projects in their respective districts] to the highway and energy bills to the still incomplete appropriations bills.” (The Washington Post, July 21, 2005)

So, between now and next week, the pro-CAFTA forces are working overtime. Deals are being made on highway projects, bridges, committee chairmanships, rides on Air Force One, dinners at the White House, campaign contributions, and countless pork projects that have nothing whatsoever to do with CAFTA or true free trade.

Faced with all this, what can we do? Representatives who change their vote to support CAFTA in return for the promise of pork-barrel projects in their district or rides on Air Force One think they will impress the voters back home by “bringing home the bacon.” You are that voter back home. It’s up to you. Are you impressed? Only hearing from you can convince your representative that politics as usual won’t work this time. In fact, it stinks.

Will you let your representative know there will be a price to pay for selling out? You do that when you contact his office and let him know you are informed and watching. That’s the only language most of our elected officials seem to understand.

And that’s why what you do right now is so important.

Do you want to know where your U.S. representative stands on CAFTA? Check the recent Congress Daily vote check posted at .

Now take action. If your representative is against CAFTA, tell him “thank you, don’t bend under pressure, I support you!” If he is for CAFTA, urge him to change his mind — it is important you make it clear that you oppose CAFTA.

If your representative is undecided, convince him to vote against it and tell him no matter what payoff he might be offered, there is nothing worth the damage CAFTA will do to America.

CAFTA can be defeated in the U.S. House next week, but you must act. More than ever, what you do matters.

* Action to Take *

Send an E-mail message to your U.S. representative by going to .

Then call your U.S. representative. The U.S. Capitol switchboard phone number is 202-224-3121 or use our directory at .

Also, please spread the word. Share a copy of this message by forwarding .

Thank you for your help!

Kent Snyder

The Liberty Committee


Tom DeWeese
[email protected]

Tom DeWeese is one of the nation’s leading advocates of individual liberty, free enterprise, private property rights, personal privacy, back-to-basics education and American sovereignty and independence.