Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Oman Trade Agreement: Thank Snowe, ask Collins to follow her lead

Hi folks,

Senator Snowe voted against the Oman trade agreement today in the Senate Finance committee vote. Her office confirmed that she will vote NO on the Oman agreement when it comes before the full Senate, probably tomorrow. The Finance committee unfortunately voted to approve the agreement 14 - 6.

Regarding Sen. Snowe's opposition, this is a clear case where our work as a coalition undoubtedly made the difference in getting Sen. Snowe to vote NO. When I spoke with her trade staffer earlier this week, it sounded pretty sure that she would vote for the Oman agreement. But then all of you - all of MFTC's coalition members and individual supporters - made calls and moved her position. When one of our volunteers spoke with the Senator's trade staffer at the end of the day yesterday, the staffer said that she was 50/50 on how she'd vote; the labor issues in the agreement had become her top issue to consider; and THAT THEY'D BEEN HEARING FROM LOTS OF PEOPLE opposed to Oman. Great work, everyone! Thanks for making all the calls to Sen. Snowe. They made a huge difference.I also wanted to note a special thanks to United Steelworkers (USW) union locals in Maine and MFTC volunteer, Elsie Flemings. Representatives from several USW locals met with Sen. Snowe & Sen. Collins on the Oman agreement in DC last week. Elsie is doing an internship in DC this summer. Yesterday, she met with Snowe's staff on Oman and then personally lobbied Sen. Snowe on Oman this morning, minutes before the Senate Finance hearing started.

*** Now, PLEASE KEEP UP THE PRESSURE & CONTINUE CALLING Senator Collins. She is "undecided" on how to vote and ABSOLUTELY NEEDS TO HEAR FROM ALL OF US. Call Sen. Collins office at: 202-224-2523. *** Also, please take a moment to THANK Sen. Snowe for her opposition to the agreement. These thank you calls are extremely important. You can call Snowe's office at: 202-224-5344. When you thank Snowe, you can also encourage her to vote against the Peru trade agreement, which is looming in the wings. The Oman agreement will probably be voted on in the Senate late today or tomorrow. Then the big question is what the House will do with Oman. Our hope is that we can raise enough pressure nationally that they won't want to bring Oman up for a vote in the House in an election year. We'll keep you posted. Thanks for all that you do!

In solidarity,Matt Schlobohm, coordinator, Maine Fair Trade Campaign

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