Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Democratic, Union Leaders Plan 'Tough' Trade Measure

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Democratic, Union Leaders Plan 'Tough' Trade Measure

Article excerpt

promised to the AFL-CIO on Monday they will pass a tough, import-restricting trade bill that President Reagan is almost certain to veto.

House Majority Leader Thomas Foley, D-Wash., and Senate Majority Leader Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., told the labor federation's 35-member executive council to start mustering grass-roots support from 12.8 million union members for overriding such a veto.

``I'm confident we're going to have a piece of legislation on the president's desk by midsummer,'' Byrd told reporters after he and Foley spent two hours behind closed doors with the union leaders, who are meeting here this week. ``We will need and profit by labor's input.''

The federation, meanwhile, made it clear to the Democratic leaders that it would oppose any bill that does not require Japan, Taiwan and South Korea to reduce their trade surpluses with the United States and set fixed yearly targets for them to do it. Reagan has opposed such an approach.

``Frankly, our attitude is that any bill that the president doesn't veto is not worth passing,'' said Morton Bahr, president of the 515,000-member Communication Workers of America. ``Our objective now is working towards the type of bill that almost insures a veto and then work towards getting Congress to override it.''

AFL-CIO President Lane Kirkland called a bill written by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Lloyd Bentsen, D-Texas, ``a box with no contents.''

``We cannot and will not support purely cosmetic legislation,'' Kirkland said of Bentsen's bill, which emphasizes U.S. industries improving their competitiveness with no new restrictions on imports. ``I won't be a party to that sort of fraud.''

Despite bipartisan support from 55 of 100 senators for Bentsen's bill, Byrd assured the labor leaders the Senate will pass a tougher version limiting imports. …

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