Monday, December 3, 2007

Nancy Boyda's bold new bill: Either fix NAFTA or withdraw

In a major policy announcement today, Congresswoman Nancy Boyda announced bold new legislation that could result in the United State of America's withdrawal from the North American Free Trade Agreement.

According to her official web site, the bill, named the NAFTA Accountability Act, "would require the United States to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). If the negotiations do not produce specific, concrete improvements, the bill calls for America to withdraw from NAFTA."

Honestly, I can't say it any better than Boyda's press release, which is one of the most powerful her office has sent out to date:

Rep. Boyda said, "Practically every politician in Washington has said that NAFTA has its share of problems. Even supporters admit that NAFTA is deeply flawed, but nobody has had the guts to fix the problem."

The bill finds that, since NAFTA was enacted, the American trade deficit with Mexico and Canada has climbed to $919 billion. Outsourcing has devastated the U.S. manufacturing base and cost America over a million living-wage jobs, and poor border security has contributed to the illegal importation of methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana from Mexico.

Rep. Boyda's legislation requires the President to renegotiate NAFTA to correct trade deficits, currency distortions, and agricultural provisions. If five specific conditions are not certified by the end of 2008, the bill calls for the United States to withdraw from NAFTA:
(1) gains in U.S. jobs and living standards (by the Secretary of Labor)

(2) increased U.S. domestic manufacturing (by the Secretary of Commerce)

(3) improved health and environmental standards, with respect to food imports and to U.S.-Mexico border areas (by the Secretary of Agriculture, the Administrator of the Food and Drug Administration, and the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency)

(4) reduced flow of illegal drugs from Mexico and Canada (by the Attorney General)

(5) Mexican democracy and human freedoms (by the President)

The bill also expresses the sense of the Congress that, until these conditions are met, the president should not engage in negotiations to expand NAFTA to include other countries, and fast-track authority should not be renewed with respect to the approval of any such NAFTA expansion.

Rep. Boyda added, "NAFTA is dragging down our economy, weakening our borders, and devastating our manufacturers. After fourteen years, it's time to either fix NAFTA or get the heck out of it."

You don't expect groundbreaking legislation from freshmen members of Congress, and you don't expect freshmen to be nearly this brave or nearly this bold. Nancy Boyda isn't an ordinary freshmen congressperson, and we're lucky we have elected someone with the "guts" to tackle the horrendous problem NAFTA has become.

UPDATE: An excellent post from our good friend Ally over on Everyday Citizen goes even farther into the effects of NAFTA and of Boyda's proposal.


Anonymous said...

Good for her! NAFTA has been a disaster for American workers and it's one of the main things that I didn't like about President Clinton. It's also a major reason why I will not vote for Hillary Clinton for President.

Anonymous said...

she matches her district so perfectly on immigration issues...i don't understand why people think she's going to lose in 08.

Anonymous said...

Too bad Bill Clinton and many Democrats, now putting down the agreement, were such big supporters of the NAFTA Treaty when it was originally passed. Had they opposed it then, NAFTA would never have been the issue it is today.

Anonymous said...

thank god we've got people with enough sense to fix it now...since the republicans had 10 years to do something and didn't.

(works both ways, jackass)

Anonymous said...

Curious! I fail to see how NAFTA has ANYthing to do with drugs crossing the border. Somehow I doubt there is any permission granted to the importation of cocaine contained within NAFTA. To claim that drug traffic would be reduced by trashing NAFTA is ridiculous at best. Tighter border security, which Boyda has opposed might have that effect.

Anonymous said...

Of course NAFTA doesn't have anything to do with drug trafficking. But, why should we be trading with these countries if they are not willing to also help with the import of illegal drugs from their country?

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