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Clinton Worried About China Vote

July 31, 2000

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) _ President Clinton said on Monday he was worried that opponents of landmark trade legislation with China might use procedural delaying tactics to keep the measure from winning approval this fall.

Clinton said it was ``absolutely imperative″ to win Senate approval quickly after Congress returns in September from its summer recess. He said he was concerned that delay would allow the legislation to fall victim to the Senate’s arcane rules in the rush to adjournment in early October.

``The longer it takes ... the more likely the bill will get caught up in procedural wrangling,″ Clinton told a conference on China trade opportunities for Florida businesses. ``With all the work they have to do ... something procedural could happen to delay this.″

The House approved the legislation to give China normal trade status on a permanent basis in May and last week Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott promised that the measure would be at the top of the Senate agenda when Congress returns from its August recess.

Clinton said if the measure is voted on in September, ``it will pass big.″ Last week, the Senate voted 86-12 to clear a procedural hurdle to allow debate to move forward.

But Clinton told the crowd that in the Senate ``one member can cause a world of trouble.″

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The trade bill is H.R. 4444.

On the Net: bill summary: http://thomas.loc.gov

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