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House OKs China Trade Normalization

May 24, 2000

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The House voted today to normalize America’s trade relations with China, approving a hard-fought measure that would end 20 years of annual congressional reviews of China’s trade status with the United States.

The House approved the legislation on a 237-197 vote after more than five hours of emotional debate.

The approval came after supporters rejected a last-ditch effort by opponents to send the measure back to committee to add language that would withdraw China’s trade privileges if Beijing launches military action against Taiwan.

The 11th-hour amendment was drafted by opponents of normalized trade relations in an effort to pick up the votes of conservative Republicans. But Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas, took to the floor to urge a `no’ vote, arguing the president already has the necessary authority to withdraw China’s trade privileges if Taiwan is invaded.

``This is a very clear poison pill by the opponents of free trade,″ DeLay said.

The amendment lost 258-176. At the start of the long day of debate, supporters had defeated an effort by opponents to keep the bill from being debated today.

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