House Democrats opposing President Bush's Colombia Free Trade Agreement criticized the deal today after Bush sent it to Congress.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) said in a joint statement that they could not support the deal. Bush's "unprecedented decision to send a free trade agreement to Congress without following established protocols," they said, was "counter-productive."

Members of the House Trade Working Group offered even sharper criticism. Rep. Mike Michaud, the group's co-founder, said the deal was "dead on arrival."

"If the Bush Administration really believes this agreement is vital to national security interests, it would not send it to a certain defeat," Michaud said in a statement. "They would work with Democrats to stop labor leader assassinations and address forced displacement and murder of Afro-Colombians."

Assassinations of labor leaders by the Colombian military have formed the cornerstone of U.S. labor unions' opposition to the deal.