Quotes from the House debate on the North American Free Trade Agreement:

House Speaker Thomas S. Foley, D-Wash.:—‘‘Is it good for America or not? If it is not, we should reject it. But I believe passionately that it is good for America.’‘

ouse Majority Leader Richard Gephardt, D-Mo.:—‘‘We gave this treaty and this negotiation every chance and my unhappy conclusion is that this treaty put before us … is deficient and flawed. … We can and we must do better.’‘

Rep. Bob Michel of Illinois, House Republican leader:—‘‘I know that our collegues who are opposed to NAFTA, on both sides of the aisle, based their opposition on conviction. Think about the three principal non-elected opponents of NAFTA—Ross Perot, Pat Buchanan and Ralph Nader—the Groucho, Chico and Harpo of NAFTA opposition.’‘

Rep. David Bonior, D-Mich.:—‘‘This vote is about more than money and markets. It’s about more than tariffs and free trade. It’s about basic values. It’s about who we are as people. … We have come to far and we have sacrificed too much in this country to turn the clock back. Say no to NAFTA.’‘

Rep. Gerald Solomon, R-N.Y.:—‘‘This agreement amounts to no more than a handshake. … The Mexican government cannot be trusted to make good on just a handshake.’‘

Rep. Sam Gibbons, D-Fla.—‘‘Mexico is a poor country. It’s been there 500 years. It’s not going away. It’s time we did something constructive about it. This trade agreement … will open the Mexican market to the United States.’‘

Rep. George Miller, D-Calif.:—‘‘What disturbs me most about the NAFTA agreement is that this NAFTA agreement essentially treats the workers of this country … as an afterthought. There was no chair (at the NAFTA negotiations) for Mr. and Mrs. Jones.’‘

Rep. Pat Roberts, R-Kan.:—‘‘We must accept the politics of hope and reject the politics of fear. In Kansas, Mexico is the third largest market for our products. If we reject NAFTA, we reject the kinds of gains that we have made in terms of farm income.’‘

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla.—‘‘Chief among my concerns is the threat that this agreement poses for thousands of American jobs. The cost of this agreement has been estimated in the billions of dollars. Let’s not do this to our American taxpayers.’‘

Rep. J.J. Pickle, D-Texas:—‘‘NAFTA must pass because it is in our best interests. In my judgment, this vote is a trade shot heard around the world. We should not give way to fear and apprehension.’‘

Rep. Don Sundquist, D-Tenn.:—‘‘It will be good for the American economy. I believe it will create and protect jobs.’‘

Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, R-Fla.:—‘‘Some people may say I have a democracy fetish. But I think it is irresponsible to enter into this sort of an agreement with some country that is not a representative democracy.’‘

Rep. Bob Franks, R-N.J.:—‘‘In one sense, both sides are right. The issue here is jobs. But to me the choice is easy. We must move forward. NAFTA represents an opportunity to seize the moment and boldly invest in America.’‘

Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va.:—‘‘We are being tested today and the whole world is watching. Are we a nation of competitiveness? Or are we a nation of isolation? This is a clarion call to other nations that we are not afraid of free and fair trade.’‘

Rep. Jim Traficant, D-Ohio:—‘‘This is a sad day for the American worker. If this is such a good deal, why don’t we apply it first to Japan, which is cleaning our clock illegally.’‘

Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio:—‘‘NAFTA means greater prosperity for workers in Ohio’s 8th District and for workers all over America.’‘

Rep. Arthur Ravenel, R-S.C.:—‘‘If NAFTA does not pass at this date, the question can be revisited at a later date when safeguards can be provided to protect my constituents.’‘

Rep. Mike Synar, D-Okla.:—‘‘I’m confident that future generations will recall that in 1993 America once again seized an opportunity, not through land, but through trade. Let us expand our horizons.’‘

Rep. Walter Tucker III, D-Calif.:—‘‘If this NAFTA passes, I can sadly say that history will not reflect that we had great vision. … The question is not, should we do this NAFTA. The question is how should we do this NAFTA. … North American trade is a good principle, but at what expense, at what cost.’‘

Rep. Doug Bereuter, R-Neb.: ‘‘I believe that a secret ballot would show that at least three quarters of this House would vote ‘aye’ … because in their hearts they know that this is in the interest of America.‘’