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February 15, 2008 

Which Members of Congress Support Free Trade?

Yesterday the Cato Institute unveiled "Free Trade, Free Markets: Rating the Congress", a web site that allows users to examine how Congress and its individual members have voted on bills and amendments affecting trade and investment during the past five sessions of Congress.

The site contains a "free trade matrix" that classifies a member of Congress' voting record into one of four broad categories rather than on the more common one-dimensional scale with free trade at one pole and protectionism at the other. According to the matrix, members of Congress can be classified in one of four categories:

Free Traders-Free traders consistently vote against both trade barriers and international economic subsidies.

Internationalists-Members of this group generally vote for trade liberalization but also support subsidies that they believe promote the same end.

Isolationists-This category includes members of Congress who tend to vote against reducing trade barriers and also oppose international economic subsidies.

Interventionists-Members of this group consistently support government intervention at the expense of the free market, favoring both subsidies and trade barriers.

The Free Trade, Free Markets: Rating the Congress website can be found at the following link:




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