WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell (D., Maine) predicted Tuesday that Congress will not delay until 1995 but will pass implementing legislation for the GATT Uruguay Round treaty this year, as President Clinton has requested.
“Many members believe it is an important measure that should be acted on this year, and the President’s views in these matters are accorded great weight,” Mitchell told reporters.
As expected, Clinton has sent Congress a letter saying he intends to transmit GATT implementing legislation to Capitol Hill and wants it passed this year.
The Uruguay Round is “the broadest, most comprehensive trade agreement in history,” Clinton wrote in the letter, received Tuesday. “This agreement will create hundreds of thousands of American jobs and new economic opportunities at home. Moreover, it will let American workers and businesses to compete in a freer, fairer and more effective global trading system that lays the foundation for prosperity into the next century.”
Sen. Ernest F. Hollings (D., S.C.), a GATT opponent, said in response to the Clinton letter that the President should “pitch a tent on the White House lawn like he did for NAFTA and start his GATT campaign.” Hollings was referring to a White House event that featured business executives on the White House lawn discussing how NAFTA would mean more jobs to U.S. companies.
A main obstacle to GATT passage this year is the budget requirement that Congress come up with $13 billion to make up for the tariff revenue that will be lost during the first five years under GATT. The administration has proposed that the tariff shortfall of the second five years be waived.