Entries in Free Trade Agreements (2)


President Obama Phones Boehner, Gets an Earful

Pete Souza/The White House(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama placed a phone call to House Speaker John Boehner Thursday afternoon to congratulate him on passing three free trade agreements through the House of Representatives Wednesday, but what started as a courtesy call ended with the two leaders disagreeing over job creation.

According to a read-out of the phone call provided by the office of the speaker, once the president and speaker finished exchanging niceties over the FTAs, Boehner “respectfully challenged” Obama for saying he had not yet seen a plan from Republicans to create jobs.

“I want to make sure you have all the facts,” the speaker told the president during a phone call that lasted about 10 minutes, according to the read-out.

The speaker then reminded the president that House Republicans put forth a Plan for America’s Job Creators in May, and recalled that he and other members of the GOP leadership team had spoken with Obama and his staff about the plan and they’d referred to it on numerous occasions, including in letters addressed to the president.

Boehner and Obama also discussed transportation and infrastructure, and the speaker expressed his desire to act on the issue, but to act in a fiscally-responsible way, the speaker’s office read out stated.

Asked to comment Thursday evening, the White House would not provide details from the phone call, but reiterated that the president has not given up on his jobs package.

“The president called speaker Boehner today to thank him for his efforts to help pass the three trade agreements,” Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest said. “We won’t comment on their specific conversation. The president has been very clear that he is willing to work with Democrats and Republicans to pass measures to create jobs and get our economy moving. As independent economists have said, the American Jobs Act is the only plan that will create jobs and help the economy now.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


House Passes Three Free Trade Agreements

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Years after they were agreed to by the U.S. and their respective governments, the House of Representatives voted in a bipartisan fashion Wednesday evening to pass free trade agreements for Panama, Colombia and South Korea.

The first bill, for Colombia, passed 262-167. Thirty-one Democrats voted with 231 Republicans to pass the bill, while nine Republicans and 158 Democrats opposed the measure.

The second bill, for Panama, passed 300-129. Sixty-six Democrats voted with 234 Republicans to pass the bill, while six Republicans and 123 Democrats opposed the measure.

Finally, the third bill, for South Korea, passed 278-151. Fifty-nine Democrats voted with 219 Republicans to pass the bill, while 21 Republicans and 120 Democrats opposed the measure.

House Speaker John Boehner applauded the successful votes, thanking both President Obama and President Bush for working “in good faith to ensure they become law,” but he said their passage was long overdue.

“With passage in the House and Senate Wednesday, a key component of the Republican jobs plan will be sent to the president for his signature,” Boehner said. “These significant trade pacts will provide new opportunities for American small businesses, farmers and manufacturers to expand and hire more workers. And frankly, it shouldn’t have taken this long for it to happen."

“While a Democrat-controlled House sat idle, other nations expanded their trading ties and American competitiveness suffered,” he said. “These common-sense agreements reverse that trend, level the playing field and provide American job creators access to new customers and markets to sell their products.”

Boehner said that while the FTAs equate to new jobs for Americans, “more work must be done to achieve the level of private-sector job growth America needs,” adding that the bills “represent the type of permanent reform that must be our focus.”

“Americans are struggling with the results of a failed, short-sighted ‘stimulus’ approach. To encourage robust and lasting private-sector job growth we must listen to job creators and break down the government barriers that discourage investment in America,” he said. “These job-creating bills show that, despite our differences, there is meaningful common ground among the two parties in Washington. To put Americans back to work we must continue seeking out those areas in which we agree, rather than picking fights over those where we don’t.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio