Will Republicans use KORUS FTA to pressure the administration on try to move on the Colombian and Panamanian FTAs: GOP tactic threatens South Korea trade pact (Politico, December 14):
I missed this (thanks to Kushibo for the heads-up), but Jeffrey Schott of the Peterson Institute was talking about this possibility in October:
Will the Obama administration submit legislation only for the KORUS FTA, or will it try to “kill three birds with one stone” by linking FTAs with Korea, Colombia, and Panama into an omnibus implementing bill? The rationale for linking the three pacts is that members don’t want to vote three times on trade bills, so it is better to do them all together in a single bill. This strategy would probably mute a lot of the criticism from specific manufacturing firms about the KORUS FTA, since those firms benefit from the other pacts. Labor unions would continue to oppose all three FTAs—but members representing labor constituencies were never going to vote for these trade deals anyway.
However, the Colombia FTA no longer qualifies for fast track. Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the House Democrats changed a House rule in April 2008 nullifying the pact’s eligibility. Therefore, from a parliamentary perspective, it is unclear how a “3 in 1” bill would be handled.
If Democrats maintain control of the House, they will probably want to continue to defer action on the Colombia FTA. This strategy would provide time to press for more policy and judicial reforms in Colombia; it would also partially compensate labor constituencies for moving forward with the
If Republicans gain control, however, the “3 in 1” strategy could be revived. House Democrats may prefer to accept one trade vote on FTAs if the China currency bill proceeds down a parallel legislative track, and thus they may passively accept House action that essentially annuls the 2008 rule change.
Ryan Russell pointed out in the comments that I originally misspelled "Colombia" as "Columbia." Fixed in August 21, 2011.