Byline: Jim Ostroff

WASHINGTON — Senatorial friends and foes of the U.S. textile-apparel trade program duked it out on Capitol Hill Wednesday over the nomination of Rita Hayes as textile ambassador.
The tenor of the session before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was set up front by Jesse Helms (R., N.C.), its chairman, who noted the committee decided Dec. 22 to recommend Hayes, the chief U.S. textile negotiator, to be an ambassador. Helms said that recommendation still stood.
Rod Grams (R., Minn.) said he objected to naming anyone U.S. textile ambassador.
“I believe that all industries are important [and] do not understand why Ms. Hayes’s peers supporting other U.S. industries at USTR are not also called ambassadors, or why we would give any of them that designation,” said Grams.
Speaking on Hayes’s behalf, Ernest F. Hollings (D., S.C.) argued that the chief textile negotiator needs ambassadorial rank in order to deal effectively with foreign negotiators, who often hold a similar title.
Strom Thurmond (R., S.C.), flanking Hayes — as did Hollings — described Hayes as “a lady of courage who will do what she thinks is right.”
Claiborne Pell (R., R.I.) made a brief appearance before the committee to say he supports Hayes’s nomination, without elaborating. — Fairchild News Service

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