Lawmakers introduce bill to renegotiate NAFTA or dump it

WASHINGTON (PAI)--Reps. Nancy Boyda (D-Kansas), Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) and five others have introduced legislation ordering the government to renegotiate the controversial U.S.-Mexico-Canada “free trade” treaty, NAFTA. If bargaining fails, their bill orders the U.S. to dump the pact.

The NAFTA Accountability Act, introduced in mid-December, drew no immediate reaction from the anti-worker GOP Bush regime, a strong defender of NAFTA, which has cost tens of thousands of U.S. industrial jobs since President Clinton pushed it through a Democratic Congress over strong union opposition.

Two presidential hopefuls, Ohio Democrat Dennis Kucinich and California Republican Duncan Hunter, are co-sponsors. Also backing it are two former union shop stewards, Reps. Phil Hare (D-Ill.) and Mike Michaud (D-Maine), and several others.

And in a move to show the Bush regime that congressional Democrats are dissatisfied with the trade pact, the omnibus bill lawmakers approved in late December to fund 12 government departments and various agencies includes a provision asking the Bureau of Labor Statistics to study the impact of NAFTA. Bush signed the bill.

Boyda and Kaptur, the lead sponsors, aren’t waiting for the study. They want NAFTA renegotiated, now. If the negotiations do not produce 5 specific, concrete improvements, the bill says the U.S. must withdraw from NAFTA.

'NAFTA is dragging down our economy, weakening our borders, and devastating our manufacturers. After 14 years, it's time to either fix NAFTA or get the heck out of it,” Boyda, the lead sponsor, told a radio show in Wichita, announcing the bill. “Even supporters admit NAFTA is deeply flawed, but nobody had the guts to fix the problem,”

The bill demands improvements in a renegotiated NAFTA by the end of 2008, including government-certified gains in U.S. jobs and living standards and government-certified rises in domestic manufacturing.