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Clinton's Trade Authority Hampered By Defeat

Sept. 23's 243-180 defeat of so-called fast-track negotiating authority does not leave President Clinton unable to negotiate trade pacts with other nations. It does, however, leave him without the option of submitting any agreements to Congress under a procedure that bars the House and Senate from attaching any amendments. That reality is probably enough to keep most other countries from seriously negotiating trade deals with the U.S. The defeat is being blamed on a combination of partisan politics, protectionism, and organized labor's opposition. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Washington, D.C., is blaming the White House as well. Says Executive Vice President Bruce Josten: "Despite a great effort by [the] House majority leadership and the business community, fast track was doomed this time by representatives who refused to see the benefits of free trade and by an Administration that sat on its hands."

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