President Bush signed into law yesterday an African trade agreement long championed by Seattle's lawmaker, U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott.
But McDermott was not invited to the White House signing ceremony, a disappointing cap to years of effort.
"It's too bad that kind of thing has to happen," said McDermott's spokesman, Mike DeCesare, who added that his boss was "disappointed."
The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) maintains lower tariffs on garments manufactured in 37 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
McDermott is known in some diplomatic circle as the "father of AGOA" for his long support of the measure.
But McDermott also has been a vociferious Bush critic, and he's featured in the anti-Bush movie "Fahrenheit 9/11."
A congressional committee included McDermott on a list of invitees submitted to the White House ceremony. But when McDermott's office checked with the White House yesterday, McDermott was not among the invitees.
A Bush spokesman said: "The White House was pleased to invite the leaders of the Ways and Means Committee to the signing." He would not elaborate.
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