House, Senate Panels OK China Bill

Wednesday, May 17th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a big victory for President Clinton and a blow for labor, legislation normalizing trade relations with China overwhelmingly won the support on Wednesday of key committees in both the House and Senate.

The House Ways and Means Committee approved the measure 34-4 as previously undecided members on the panel flocked to support the administration, setting up a final House floor vote for next week.

Earlier in the day, the Senate Finance Committee approved the measure 18-1.

The lopsided Senate committee vote was expected, since support for the overall measure is broad in that chamber. But in the House, organized labor has waged a fierce campaign against the legislation, undercutting Democratic support.

The bill, which would end 20 years of annual congressional votes on China's trade status, has the strong support of the Clinton administration and business groups but is opposed by organized labor and some human rights groups, particularly in the House.