From today’s issue of Congressional Daily:
President Bush and his advisers are beginning a three-week effort to round up House votes for the Central America Free Trade Agreement, culminating in a floor vote the last week of July.
House GOP leaders had discussed bringing CAFTA to the floor as early as next week, but acknowledged Tuesday that the vote would likely be one of the last before the August recess.
“I doubt if we can fit [CAFTA] in next week so it’s looking like the end of the month,”House Majority Whip Blunt told CongressDaily.
A number of House Republicans from North Carolina and other textile-producing states are undecided or leaning against the trade pact.
Meanwhile, National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley briefed a small group of House members Tuesday on the importance of the Central American region and the impact of CAFTA on national security, a White House official said.
Administration officials cannot afford to leave any stone unturned as they hunt votes for the agreement, which is opposed by all but a handful of House Democrats and faces greater Republican opposition than any trade agreement in years.
“The interest from the administration and from leadership has been as intense as I’ve seen it,” said Rep. John Sweeney, R-N.Y., who is undecided on the pact.