Thursday, July 28, 2005

US House ratifies CAFTA 217-215

In a vote late in the night, the Bush administration managed to twist enough arms and promise enough deals to get the votes it needed to ratify CAFTA. The Washington Post describes some of the last minute pressure:

The 217 to 215 vote came just after midnight, in a dramatic finish that highlighted the intensity brought by both sides to the battle. When the usual 15-minute voting period expired at 11:17 p.m., the no votes outnumbered the yes votes by 180 to 175, with dozens of members undeclared. House Republican leaders kept the voting open for another 47 minutes, furiously rounding up holdouts in their own party until they had secured just enough to ensure approval....

The last-minute negotiations for Republican votes resembled the wheeling and dealing on a car lot. Republicans who were opposed or undecided were courted during hurried meetings in Capitol hallways, on the House floor and at the White House. GOP leaders told their rank and file that if they wanted anything, now was the time to ask, lawmakers said, and members took advantage of the opportunity by requesting such things as fundraising appearances by Cheney and the restoration of money the White House has tried to cut from agriculture programs. Lawmakers also said many of the favors bestowed in exchange for votes will be tucked into the huge energy and highway bills that Congress is scheduled to pass this week before leaving for the August recess.

From the New York Times

[T]he end result did not come without some drama. The voting took almost an hour as Republicans pressured about 8 to 10 members. The count seemed to stall after about 30 minutes with the tally at 214 in favor and 211 against, and a handful of votes outstanding.

For the next half-hour, Republicans, mostly from textile states, jockeyed over who would be allowed to vote against the bill and save face back home. The final count came minutes after midnight.

No comments: