House Leaders Key To Presidential Trade Authority Vote

By John S. McClenahen The fate of H.R. 3005, a compromise bill that would renew so-called fast-track trade negotiating authority for the White House, now rests with to the Republican leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives. The House had been expected to take up the legislation this week, but "mark up" in the House Ways & Means Committee was not finished until Oct. 9. The presidential authority, which allows the White House to send trade agreements to Congress for approval or disapproval but not amendment, expired in 1994. On Oct. 9, the Ways & Means panel by a 26-13 vote approved the legislation to re-establish presidential trade promotion authority, as it's now called. But the measure contains some controversial provisions, particularly one dealing with the promotion of acceptable environmental and labor standards among U.S. trading partners. Several labor and environmental groups believe it doesn't go far enough, while the National Assn. of Manufacturers says giving labor and environmental standards negotiating and enforcement parity with trade objectives is about as far as it's willing to go.

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