The debate over the three trade deals also brought up larger questions regarding trade with China, which has gained significant attention in Washington this year. On Monday, a bill aimed at increasing tariffs on countries like China that undervalue their currency advanced in the Senate. Also on Wednesday, Democrats, like Washington Rep. Jim McDermott and Massachusetts Rep. Richard Neal, argued for their fellow members to pass similar legislation in the House.
Despite opposition from the left, the three bills regarding Colombia, Panama, and South Korea passed favorably through committee. While Republicans voted unanimously for all three deals, a dozen Democrats voted against the Colombia deal, three against the Panama deal and five against the Korea deal. The bills could get a vote on the House floor as early as next week. All three are then expected to pass through the Senate by the end of the month.
"Today has been five years in the making and could not come at a better time for American workers, consumers and businesses," said Camp Wednesday in a statement. "The agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea will help create and support 250,000 American jobs and add over $10 billion to our gross domestic product—all without adding one dime in new government spending. I look forward to the quick passage of these trade agreements into law."