From The Hill, Nov. 11:
Newly designated White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said Sunday that the incoming Obama administration opposes attaching the Colombia Free Trade Agreement to an economic stimulus package in order to get the approval of the Bush Administration.
Emanuel emphasized on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” that issues such as extending unemployment insurance and providing healthcare assistance for states are too pressing to mix with other proposals.
“You don’t link those essential needs to some other trade deal,” he said. “What you have to deal with is what’s immediate here, and the lame duck is for immediate things that are important. That’s what should be the focus, right now. There’s an economic recovery package in front of the Congress. Washington should get it done.”
Lawmakers are set to meet next week in a lame duck session in which the stimulus package will be the top priority, but leaders have signaled they might skip the lame duck if no compromise is reached with the current administration.