House OKs Trade Deal With Peru

Bill split Dems, who defied wishes of labor unions
By Zach Samalin,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 8, 2007 4:27 PM CST
A man, dressed as a clown, carrying an empty bottle and an empty pot, walking on stilts, participates in a protest in Lima, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2007. At least 7,000 workers from different unions protested...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Despite sharp criticism from labor leaders, environmentalists, and free-trade opponents, roughly half of House Democrats joined nearly all Republicans to pass a trade-liberalization agreement with Peru. Speaker Nancy Pelosi came out in favor of the deal, defying expectations that President Bush would find no friends for his trade policy in the current Congress, the New York Times reports. The Senate is expected to pass it, too.

Pelosi claimed the deal is kosher because it stipulates that Peru protect labor rights and the environment. Critics call it another sign the Bush administration is sacrificing American jobs to cheaper overseas labor; the administration counters that relatively few people lose jobs from trade. Pelosi and other party leaders have not endorsed pending deals with Colombia, Panama and South Korea.