U.S. newspaper The Washington Post called on the White House and Republicans to break the deadlock that is blocking a long-delayed free trade agreement with Colombia.
In Sunday’s editorial, the newspaper warns that President Obama’s demand that Republicans support measures to protect American workers and the Republicans’ threat to block the action on Obama’s nominee for commerce secretary unless the U.S. President submits trade deals to Congress will bring “harm to the economy and to the reputation of U.S. trade policy.”
“Determining the merits of this increasingly self-referential quarrel between the two parties would take 100 marriage counselors 100 years. Both sides have played politics with trade and both have inappropriately linked the three foreign countries to more peripheral matters. But the big picture is clear: For two years, Republicans justifiably demanded that Mr. Obama end his opposition to the pacts; he has done that. All he wants in return at this point is a commitment by the GOP to accept trade adjustment assistance — or at least not block it — as it has in the past. If Republicans on Capitol Hill are more concerned about the national interest than placating their own right wing, they’ll meet the president halfway — and get these deals done while they still matter,” the Post concludes.
The free trade agreement with Colombia was signed by former U.S. President George W. Bush and former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe in 2006, but stalled until earlier this year when Colombia and the U.S. agreed on trade reforms in the Andean country. Shortly thereafter, Obama imposed the condition that Republicans support aid for U.S. workers before sending the FTA to Congress for a vote.