Friday, November 19, 2010

Democrats want more, more, more negotiations on KORUS FTA

More FTA news. It looks like Democratic members of Congress are taking advantage of the post-G20 lull in negotiations to twist President Obama's arm in order to get him to demand more changes to the KORUS FTA, beyond the beefs about cows and cars. And Obama says he'll listen, then think about it, and then maybe say "Screw it, I've got Republican votes now."

From Reuters:
President Barack Obama told congressional critics of a free trade deal with South Korea he would consider asking Seoul for changes to labor, investment and financial provisions of the pact to help win approval of the deal in Congress, a lawmaker said on Thursday.

"He wanted us to give him a list of what our other concerns were," Representative Michael Michaud, a Maine Democrat, told Reuters after he and eight other lawmakers met with Obama.

Obama said he "is willing to go over that list and see which ones they agree with, and the ones that they do (agree with) they'll try (to pursue) when they continue the negotiations with the Koreans," the Maine Democrat said.

But Michaud, who is chairman of the House of Representatives Trade Working Group, said also Obama made clear finalizing the trade deal was a priority and "he definitely does not want to start from scratch" to get that done.
There is still a lot of upbeat talk about the FTA:
Despite the setback at the G20, U.S. business have tried to remain optimistic that a deal is still possible and could be sent to Congress for approval early next year.

Tami Overby, president of the U.S.-Korea Business Council, said Deputy Trade Representative Demeterios Marantis told her on Wednesday he still believes it is "matter of days and weeks" before a deal is sealed.
Obama knows he has to fix his screw-up, and I think that means he'll go it alone (party-wise) if he has to. After all, he's got the Mama Grizzly on his side, and she's working on the Tea Party wing of the GOP.

Oh, and speaking of the the Republicans... Remember all those disgruntled voters who were out of work or underemployed or had lost their homes, and so they voted out the Democrats en masse because President Obama couldn't fix in two years what it took the Republicans eight years to muck up? Well, the GOP gave them a big fat thank you by blocking the extension of jobless benefits for 2 million Americans beyond November 30.

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