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Republicans Boycott of Free-Trade Accords Derails Obama Push for Swift Vote
Date: 6/30/2011
Written By: Bloomberg A Republican boycott of a Senate hearing on three free-trade agreements set back efforts by President Barack Obama and business groups to get the long- delayed accords completed before a recess in August. The Senate Finance Committee was unable to consider trade pacts with South Korea, Colombia and Panama yesterday because no Republicans showed up, denying Democrats a quorum to advance measures that have languished since 2007. Republicans balked at including aid for displaced workers in the trade package. “I don’t understand why the Republicans are playing it out like this,” William Reinsch, president of the National Foreign Trade Council, a Washington-based group that represents companies such as Boeing Co. (BA), said in an interview. “They spent 2 1/2 years waiting for Obama to send these up. He basically folded, and as these things go the price was cheap.”