Eye On Boise

House opposes pact with Canada, Mexico

The Idaho House has voted to back a non-binding memorial to Congress opposing an international pact with Mexico and Canada. Here’s Parker Howell’s report:

The United States should withdraw from an international pact with Canada and Mexico because it would be a road to security risks and potential economic damage, the House said Monday in a joint memorial. The memorial calls for Idaho's Congressional delegation to work against the 2005 Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP) or any other agreement seeking to create a "North American Union."

The White House-led pact aims to increase security efforts, expand economic opportunity and help combat infectious diseases among the nations, according to the program's Web site. It is not a treaty and does not look to create a North American union, according to the site. But lead sponsor Rep. JoAn Wood, R-Rigby, said the partnership lacks Congressional oversight. The memorial is modeled after those in other states, including memorials being considered in Washington and Oregon, she said.

The agreement is an end-run around a treaty that should have been approved by the Senate that was "handled under the radar, out of the media, by the bureaucracy of the federal government," said Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol. The memorial states that an international highway from Mexico to Canada might be part of plans for a North American union and opposes use of federal fuel taxes to build such a highway. There isn't enough traffic to justify such a large highway, and it would be a "gigantic pork barrel project" that would partially be bankrolled by taxpayers, Hart said. Rep. Marv Hagedorn, R-Meridian, said such a highway would encourage importers and exporters to move goods through Mexico rather than U.S. ports. The SPP Web site states that U.S. government is not planning a superhighway, although some state and private interests are working on an international highway.

The only lawmaker to criticize the bill, Rep. Nicole LaFavour, D-Boise, said she was "somewhat troubled" with parts of the memorial about immigrants. Many immigrants have lived in the country for generations and are "unfortunately characterized by some of the language," she said. "Mexico is the primary source country of illegal immigrants, illegal drug entry and illegal human smuggling into the United States," according to the memorial.




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