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posted: 7/5/2011 10:48 AM

House panel to take up 3 trade agreements

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Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- The House Ways and Means Committee will take up three long-pending free trade agreements in a package that does not include renewal of a worker aid program that the White House and Democrats say must be a part of any free trade agenda.

The Republican-controlled committee says that on Thursday it will consider the trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama, which were signed during the George W. Bush administration but never reached a vote in Congress. Absent from the package is renewal of the Trade Adjustment Assistance program, which helps workers displaced by foreign competition to find new jobs.

Last week the Democratic-led Senate Finance Committee was to have met to consider moving the three trade bills and TAA together, but a Republican boycott forced a postponement.