Stupak doesn't just have eye on health bill, but on pulling U.S. from trade pact

While Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) has thrown himself into the spotlight again, threatening to derail the House healthcare debate, the rank-and-file lawmaker is also hoping his star power will boost a bipartisan push to nix the U.S. from free trade pacts.

Stupak joined the charge being led this week by Blue Dog Democrat Rep. Gene Taylor (Miss.) to remove the U.S. from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), saying that at a time of economic national instability the government should focus on domestic job creation.

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“NAFTA has failed to deliver the benefits that were promised and has cost Michigan hundreds of thousands of good manufacturing jobs,” Stupak said in a statement. “NAFTA is clearly an unsustainable policy that has shipped far too many jobs across the border. It is time to say enough is enough and repeal NAFTA.”

The agreement was established in 1994 and is geared toward promoting free trade between the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Since its origination, several attempts to pull the U.S. out from the agreement have failed.

But this year the 25 lawmakers -- in addition to Stupak and Taylor -- are hoping that Democratic leadership will be more prone to act as Congress’ focus has recently centered on domestic job creation to try to ease the country’s floundering economic state.

“With Michigan unemployment at 14.5 percent and the national unemployment rate at 9.7 percent, it is time to repeal the trade agreements that have shrunk our domestic manufacturing base,” Stupak said.

Stupak’s move comes as he once again has threatened to thwart the efforts of House Democrats to pass the Senate’s healthcare measure if it includes language that would allow for a person who received government subsidized insurance to get an abortion.

Last year when the House voted on its version of the healthcare measure, Stupak successfully waged a similar campaign to get the abortion language removed, a move that helped give Democrats the few extra votes needed to pass the bill.


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