WASHINGTON (MNS) — The Imperial Valley's congressman reversed a long tradition of opposing free trade on Thursday and voted to give the president more power to negotiate international trade deals.
The bill would allow the president to sign trade agreements with other countries that Congress could reject or accept but not amend.
It squeaked by 215n214, with a vote that split down party lines. Most Republicans supported it. Democrats opposed it.
Rep. Duncan Hunter, RnAlpine, said he decided to join the majority of his party to show support for the president in a time of international conflict.
President Bush lobbied hard for the legislation, which was supported by business interests. Labor and environmental groups opposed it.
"I do not like free trade," Hunter said. "But I like less the idea of weakening our president in this time of national emergency."