A Senate panel planned to have a hearing today to discuss free trade agreements with Panama, Colombia and South Korea -- agreements that have been in the works for years. Republicans support the deals, as does President Obama, but the GOP today blasted Democrats for trying to attach extra spending to the agreements to help workers displaced by free trade.
Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, calling negotiations with the other party "noxious," said that Democrats purposefully scheduled the hearing for this afternoon, when they knew several senators would already be out of town for July 4th.
Republican Sen. John Thune of South Dakota said the free trade agreements should be "slam dunks."
"To leave something like this sitting around for four years that would create jobs... and help us expand and grow the economy, it is inexcusable," he said. The "free trade agreements are being hijacked in order to get spending the administration wants."