Senator Could Block World Trade Treaty
THE Clinton administration is gambling that a key Senate committee chairman will refrain from blocking legislation implementing a new, tariff-cutting world trade pact.
On Tuesday, it sent Congress the bill putting the accord into force, without provisions sought by Sen. Ernest Hollings (D) of South Carolina, to reduce China's textile import quotas. Senator Hollings' state is a major textile producer.
Under the special fast-track rules in force for consideration of the pact negotiated under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, or GATT, Congress must accept or reject it without amendment. But the same rules also give House and Senate committee chairmen with jurisdiction 45 days to review the bill. If Hollings were to hold it in his Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee for the full period, as threatened, that effectively would block approval this year.
US Trade Representative Mickey Kantor and senators who favor the pact said they were trying to persuade Hollings to allow a Senate vote. GATT would cut worldwide tariffs by about $740 billion, reduce other barriers to trade and extend the rules of world trade to services and intellectual property such as computer programs and drug patents.
``This bill will help open markets for our products, create fairer rules of trade, and move us closer to a level playing field,'' said House majority leader Richard Gephardt (D) of Missouri, who introduced the bill. ``The bottom line is that this bill will create growth, opportunity and jobs here at home.''
Critics, ranging from consumer activist Ralph Nader to conservative commentator Pat Buchanan, say the World Trade Organization that would be created to police GATT would allow other countries to force changes in federal and state laws. CIA to punish Ames's superiors
CIA Director James Woolsey has decided, after an internal investigation of the Aldrich Ames spy case, that senior officers who failed to recognize Ames' betrayals will be punished, officials familiar with his intentions say.
Those to be disciplined include retired Central Intelligence Agency officers, the officials said on condition of anonymity.
Mr. Woolsey was on Capitol Hill yesterday for a closed-door meeting with the House Intelligence Committee discussing the internal probe and spelling out disciplinary actions he is taking in response to the worst spy scandal in CIA history.
Meanwhile, a joint CIA-Pentagon study has concluded that no major changes are needed in the construction of a huge spy satellite agency headquarters in northern Virginia. The $300-million spy complex was a state secret until the Senate Intelligence Committee revealed it last month.