Democrat urges White House push ahead on Korea deal

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 29, 2011 2:21 PM
Democrat urges White House push ahead on Korea deal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A senior Democratic lawmaker on Tuesday urged the Obama administration to prod Republicans into action on a free trade pact with South Korea by "immediately" sending Congress a draft implementing bill.

"Congress should approve the U.S.-Korea free trade agreement before Memorial Day," Representative Sander Levin, a Michigan Democrat, said in the text of a speech at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

Levin, the top Democrat on the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee, criticized Republicans for refusing to move ahead on the Korea agreement until the White House sends Congress implementing bills for two other long-delayed trade agreements with Colombia and Panama.

He said the tactic "minimizes the importance of the Korea FTA," the biggest of the three agreements left over from the administration of former President George W. Bush, and "maximizes partisanship" on trade.

(Reporting by Doug Palmer; Editing by Sandra Maler)