Washington, Oct 12 -


Mr. Speaker, the House today will vote on a jobs plan that will create thousands of jobs for Americans. I'm talking about the pending free trade agreement with Colombia that has been waiting for years to be voted on.

In my great home State of Texas, new jobs will be created in the exporting sectors like petroleum, chemicals, and machinery. Texas is the number one State that exports to Colombia, but in my district alone, the 22 companies that exported to Colombia last year paid almost $12 million in unnecessary tariffs. When tariffs on these products are removed, United States companies will be able to expand their markets, export more products, and create American jobs; and America will become more of a competitive country in the international marketplace.

I've been to Colombia, and unlike some South Americans, Colombians like Americans. They are a U.S. ally. Free trade with Colombia helps both nations and solidifies our joint interests in South America. This agreement is a diplomatic win to help thwart the influence of dictator Chavez of Venezuela in that region.

Create jobs. Pass the free trade agreement with Colombia. It's good for Americans, and it's good for Colombians.

And that's just the way it is.