In the US Senate, there is strong support for the Lieberman-Warner cap and trade bill
, with debate due to begin in the full Senate - it has already been voted out of committee - on 2 June.
Yet even if the worker-rights language was never enforced, I'd still argue for putting it into trade bills. Yes, our government likes the quiet life, but other governments do, too, so sometimes they ask: "How do we comply?" These worker-protection agreements also create more leverage for labor groups to lobby.
So yes, we should include worker rights in our trade bills. They should be part of our foreign policy.
It is true that the bill requires negotiators to consult with Congress, more so than any past trade bill
. However, consultations between the executive and legislative branches have been part of past free trade agreements' negotiations (Nafta, Jordan and currently Chile) and reflect current reality.
Second, consider the null hypothesis that trade bills
are enacted according to a party dominance model.
Our institutions were not mature enough then to preside over the world economy, so we passed two highly protectionist trade bills
. We created a bottleneck in the world economy by lending lots of money and then blocking off the exports from Latin America, Europe, and Asia that were needed to service our loans in those countries.
The Senate approved the package of trade bills