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October 14, 2011 11:35 PM UTC

Perlmutter Votes Conscience on Free Trade Deals

  • by: Colorado Pols

Worth an atta-boy from progressives and labor supporters–with a H/T to Allison Sherry of the Denver paper, here’s Rep. Ed Perlmutter of Golden’s statement on his vote this week against free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea.

U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter (CO-07) voted no on the proposed trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea because they will ensure the loss of thousands of jobs in Colorado and throughout the nation.

“At a time when we should be building jobs here in our country, these trade agreements are the wrong proposals at the wrong time.  At the grocery store, the coffee shop, and from calls and emails to my office, hundreds of hardworking Coloradans told me how these agreements could cause their jobs to be outsourced and shipped overseas.   We are all in this together, and my priority is to make sure we can put people back to work making things here in the United States, because if we make it in America, we will make it in America.”

According to the U.S. International TRADE Commission (USITC), it is estimated the trade agreement with South Korea could impact more than 5,000 workers in Colorado’s 7th Congressional District.  Additionally, with the Panama and Colombia agreements, Perlmutter was concerned with financial corruption and lack of safeguards to protect jobs in the United States.

The free-trade deals in question did all pass–as Sherry reports, Rep. Diana DeGette voted against free trade with Colombia citing that nation’s spotty human rights record, and yes on the other two. All other Colorado representatives voted yes on all three.

Politically, there’s no significant constituency of Perlmutter’s that will disagree with this vote–ag producers like the possibility of increased exports, but most voters in Perlmutter’s suburban district are much more sensitive to concerns about outsourcing of jobs than the incremental increase in exports these deals will result in for Colorado. Free trade is one of those debates in which people usually already have a strong opinion: our own view is that free trade with economic peers is fine, arguably including an industrially developed nation like South Korea, but deals with nations that take advantage of vasty cheaper labor pools, which certainly includes most Latin American nations, should be regarded with suspicion by self-interested Americans.

Either way, just like his pushing back on cheap GOP NREL grandstanding, Ed Perlmutter demonstrates that a backbone in today’s Washington can still be an asset–not a liability.  


6 thoughts on “Perlmutter Votes Conscience on Free Trade Deals

  1. And this is why I look sideways at anyone who accuses him of being a “conservadem” just because he listens to his constituents and doesn’t always vote the party line. Ed is a PATRIOT — not a liberal or a conservative. His votes are 100% always based first on what’s best for the USA and second on what’s best for his constituents. Ed is THE MAN.

    #1 in my li’l progressive heart since I was six years old and that will never change. Best guy in Congress. Period.

  2. has seen that old “not progressive enough”, “too moderate” label he came in with blown out of the water numerous times.  Yes, Ed listens to his constituents but he’s been very strong on important progressive issues because he’s strong on what he believes. As I said before, Ed rocks. And while some excellent pols and brilliant, creative CEOs aren’t particularly nice people, everybody I have ever talked to who has worked closely with Ed thinks he is one of the greatest, kindest, most considerate and genuine people on the planet.  Nice guys don’t always have to finish last.

    Wouldn’t it be great if Ed decided to go talk to the crowd Saturday?  

  3. That “ConservaDem” b.s. does not apply to any of our current Colorado Democratic delegation. All of them have a 90% or better record of voting with the Dems. It just doesn’t fly. Betsy Markey was a ConservaDem when she was in office, only because she had to be to represent her district. Legislators in tough districts have to sometimes do things they don’t like. They have a moral obligation to their constituents, as well as to their own conscience. Which wins out often depends on their chances of keep the seat for the party in the next election. I don’t envy them for the tough choices they must make.  

  4. I am really proud of him for this vote.  I’m ready for some fair trade conversations.  Also, saw on DPost blog that Perlmutter did “Take Your Congressman to Work” day at Arby’s. I love that idea.  Lucky to live in CD 7! (At least for now)

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