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Fast Track and the Census
In case you missed this.
> September 24, 1997
> House Seeks Leverage for Favored Measures
> By ALISON MITCHELL NY Times
> [W] ASHINGTON -- Adding another complication to
> President Clinton's drive to win authority to
> negotiate new trade accords, the House majority
> leader suggested Tuesday that Republicans would
> link the trade proposal to action on two of their
> initiatives that the administration has threatened
> to veto.
> With the president largely reliant on Republican
> votes to pass his free trade initiative, Rep. Dick
> Armey, R-Texas, hinted that House leaders might
> use the leverage this gives them to hold out for a
> school voucher program that would allow low-income
> District of Columbia students to go outside the
> local public school system, as well as legislation
> that would block the administration from using
> statistical sampling to carry out the 2000 census.
> Asked by reporters if he was threatening to shelve
> a vote this autumn on the "fast track" trade
> legislation if the president vetoed two Republican
> initiatives, Armey said, "No. I didn't say that."
> But when asked about the trade proposal, he said,
> "We want to get fast track done, if done
> correctly. But we also have some very, very
> important other things that we need to have done
> on behalf of the American people. And I guess fast
> track will just have to take its place in the
> queue line compared to some of these other
> matters," he said.
> The Republican leader's remarks were another sign
> of the president's delicate political position as
> he attempts to secure the trade negotiating
> authority he calls vital to the nation's
> prosperity. He faces stiff opposition from
> Democratic House leaders and organized labor, with
> possibly as few as 50 Democratic supporters in the
> Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., said
> Tuesday that the trade measure would likely be the
> very last issue to come to the floor before
> Congress adjourns in November.
> The census measure and the school voucher pilot
> program are among several controversial items
> wending their way to Clinton as the House and
> Senate rush to put in place the 13 spending bills
> needed to finance the government for the fiscal
> year that begins on Oct. 1.
> While Republicans and Clinton expect to avoid the
> kind of contentious confrontation that led to a
> government shutdown two years ago, the
> administration has threatened to veto two spending
> bills if they contain the House voucher or census
> The school voucher plan is a part of a broader
> Republican education agenda being put forth this
> year with an eye to the 1998 elections. Included
> in the House version of a spending package for the
> troubled District of Columbia, it would create a
> $7 million program to give some low-income parents
> vouchers worth $3,500 per child to allow them to
> pay tuition at parochial or private schools or to
> move their children to suburban schools.
> The administration has said in a statement that
> Clinton's senior advisers will recommend a veto of
> the District spending bill if the House voucher
> plan prevails.
> "Instead of investing additional resources in
> public schools, vouchers would allow a few
> selected students to attend private schools and
> draw attention away from the hard work of
> reforming public schools that serve the
> overwhelming majority of D.C. students," the
> statement said.
> But Armey said Tuesday, "These kids need help now
> and there is no better example and no more tragic
> example than in Washington, D.C."
> The debate over the census is a separate issue
> that has been simmering for months. The Census
> Bureau wants to use statistical sampling in the
> 2000 census to adjust for an expected undercount
> among members of minority groups and urban
> But the Republicans say the Constitution requires
> a head count. They express fears that a sampling
> system that increases the count of minority
> members could cost them their majority in the
> House if congressional districts are redrawn to
> take account of the new census.
> Last spring, Republicans sought to include a ban
> on statistical sampling in legislation to assist
> victims of natural disasters. Clinton vetoed the
> measure and the battle turned into a tactical
> embarrassment for the Republicans.
> The House is expected to take up the census issue
> again later this week when it debates legislation
> to finance the Commerce Department, which includes
> the Census Bureau.
> The House version of the bill would ban
> statistical sampling -- and has drawn a veto
> threat from the administration. House Republican
> leaders have prepared an alternate measure that
> would withhold the money for sampling until the
> constitutionality of the method is decided by the
> U.S. Supreme Court.
> Armey charged that Clinton "politicizes everything
> he gets his hands on" and said, "We are not going
> to let him control the census."
> At the White House, Mike McCurry, the president's
> press secretary, reiterated that Clinton viewed
> the trade legislation as vital to the economy. But
> he was measured about Armey's comments that the
> legislation would have to wait its turn, behind
> Republican priorities.
> "I think," McCurry said, "that we attach much
> greater priority to giving the president the
> authority he needs to move free trade agreements
Pity the poor global goober.
/s/ Mike Dolan, Field Director, Global Trade Watch, Public Citizen
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Fred Ross, Sr.