Campaign 2010

Jul 28, 2005

Congressman Charles Taylor Missing in Action on Critical CAFTA Vote

DCCC Press

Jul 28, 2005

Congressman Charles Taylor Missing in Action on Critical CAFTA Vote

Fails to Represent North Carolina Workers by Taking Stand on Trade Measure; Leaves Thousands of North Carolinians Behind

Vote that Charles Taylor missed yesterday:

Roll Call #443: CAFTA

of the votes that Charles Taylor made yesterday:

439, H RES 384, a non-controversial resolution condemning attacks in Egypt

438, H RES 383, a unanimously passed measure supporting women’s rights in Iraq

435, S 45, another unanimous measure to increase access drug addiction treatments

(Washington, D.C.) – Despite being present for 11 votes yesterday, Congressman Charles Taylor was mysteriously absent for the critical vote on the CAFTA trade agreement. With the opportunity to vote for an entire hour, as opposed to the usual 15 minutes, it would be nearly impossible for a member of the United States House of Representatives to be unable to record his vote, as Taylor claims.

North Carolina lost 34,000 jobs due to NAFTA -- the 10th worst-affected state country. 166,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost in North Carolina since 2001.

“Congressman Charles Taylor showed up for work yesterday, but he didn’t do his job,” said DCCC communications director Bill Burton. “He seemed to find time to vote for procedural motions and legislation that had nothing to do with North Carolina, but he couldn’t seem to figure out how to squeeze in the time to vote against a trade deal that could cost North Carolina thousands of jobs. Standing up for North Carolina means more than just showing up. It’s time that North Carolina families had a member of Congress who has the courage and the know-how to be the leader in Washington that North Carolina deserves.”

More than one million American workers lost their jobs as a direct result of NAFTA. Jobs were displaced in every state and major industry in the United States. Two thirds of those lost jobs were in manufacturing industries. CAFTA duplicates the most important elements of NAFTA, and it will only worsen conditions for workers in the United States and throughout the hemisphere.

Among the most damaging consequences of CAFTA on North Carolina are the following:

  • CAFTA Costs America Jobs: CAFTA, like NAFTA, would cost America jobs. Trade liberalization in sectors like textiles, coupled with cheaper labor and weaker labor rights protections, will make it easier and cheaper for businesses to locate their factories overseas. The U.S. lost more than 1 million jobs in 10 years as a result of NAFTA. Though supporters of the trade agreement tout Central America as a market for U.S. goods, it is not -- making CAFTA amount to little more than an outsourcing agreement.
  • CAFTA Weakens Labor Rights and Environmental Protections: CAFTA weakens labor rights protections by undercutting labor standards and enforcement mechanisms. Under existing trade agreements with the U.S., nations must be “taking steps to afford internationally recognized worker’s rights” and the President is instructed to take into account this progress in allowing access to U.S. markets.

Under CAFTA, participating nations would be granted greater market access and would only be required to enforce the labor laws that they currently have on the books. The U.S. would have no mechanism to restrict access for nations or industries that do not have adequate enforcement. CAFTA would similarly rely on existing environmental laws rather than promoting tougher environmental standards.

  • CAFTA Costs Taxpayers Money: According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), CAFTA would cost American taxpayers $50 million per year in loan forfeitures by sugar farmers and cost the U.S. $4.4 billion over ten years, primarily in lost tariffs. The trade deficit in our country currently stands at $55.3 billion. The CBO forecasts that an influx of sugar from CAFTA countries would push prices way down and force American sugar farmers to forfeit $50 million per year in loans through 2015. [Associated Press, 7/21/05]
  • CAFTA Limits Generic Drug Competition: CAFTA extends rules limiting generic drug competition, benefiting the U.S. pharmaceutical industry and hurting U.S. consumers. [Associated Press, 5/31/05]