Administration promises aid to Central America to sweeten CAFTA vote
The US Senate is expected to vote and narrowly approve CAFTA this week. The House vote will not happen until mid-July. Reuters reports that the adminstration is promising aid to Central American countries to help make the treaty palatable to Democrats:
Sen. Jeff Bingaman, a New Mexico Democrat who serves on the Finance Committee, said on Wednesday he had decided to vote for CAFTA after the administration pledged to support $40 million in annual funding through 2009 to help the CAFTA countries enforce their labor and environmental laws.
The administration also pledged to support $30 million to help subsistence farmers in El Salvador, Guatemala and the Dominican Republic who might be hurt by more U.S. farm imports. It said more aid was possible under the Millennium Challenge Account, the flagship U.S. foreign aid program.