From: John King/CNN
Subject: White House Delays Fast-Track Trade Legislation
White House aides say they are delaying introduction of "fast track" trade legislation to consult further with Democratic lawmakers who oppose the idea.
For more than a month, President Bill Clinton had been scheduled to introduce the proposal today at an East Room event. But a serious divide within the Democratic Party has convinced the administration to hold off, and that decision is angering some Republicans who support the policy but are awaiting the formal legislation.
The legislation would allow the president to negotiate trade agreements and allow Congress only an up-or-down vote on the proposal; no amendments would be allowed. Clinton wants to negotiate new trade deals with Chile and elsewhere in Latin and South America.
Democrats are complaining that "fast track" authority does not allow them to make sure there are strong labor and environmental protections in the trade deals negotiated by the administration. Organized labor is fiercely opposed for the same reasons.
Clinton decided at the last minute to hold off introducing the measure when it became apparent there would be forceful opposition from fellow Democrats and labor. Sources say the new target for introduction is next week, after another round of consultations with Democratic lawmakers and interest groups.
Nonetheless, Clinton will proceed with today's event and promote the fast track idea, absent a legislative proposal. Republican leaders are committed to acting on the proposal this year, but say Clinton is testing their patience by delaying introduction of his proposal.
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