CONGRESSIONAL RECORD - SENATE
May 17, 1962
DEBATE ON H.R.10788, TO REGULATE TEXTILE IMPORTS
Mr. HUMPHREY. Madam President, what part of the unanimous-consent agreements applies at this time?
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the agreements, the Senator from Iowa [Mr. MILLER] is entitled to submit his amendment, if he wishes to do so, under a 30-minute limitation.
Mr. HUMPHREY. Before that is done, Madam President, I should like to yield I minute to myself, in order that I may yield to the Senator from Maine [Mr. MUSKIE].
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator is recognized for 1 minute.
Mr. MUSKIE. Madam President, I should like to ask the Senator from Minnesota a question.
Section 204 of the Agricultural Act of 1956 applies to "any agricultural commodity or product manufactured therefrom."
I wish to ask the Senator from Minnesota whether it is the intent of his amendment to give the same relief which is provided in his amendment to the products and commodities which are spelled out in section 204, in the language I have just now read.
Mr. HUMPHREY. Madam President, I reply to the Senator from Maine by stating that the amendment which has been adopted is an amendment to section 204 -- the difference being that in this amendment the word used is "shall," whereas in the remainder of section 204 the word used is "authorized." I hope that will be interpreted in such a way that where injury is done to a
domestic producer, the President will enter into these multilateral negotiations.
Mr. MUSKIE. I express the hope that if there is any doubt of it in the legislation, it will be corrected in the conference on the bill.
Mr. MILLER. Madam President
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Iowa.
Mr. HOLLAND. Madam President, if the Senator will yield, I notice that the time on this item, and final passage of the bill, is to be under the control of the Senator from Louisiana [Mr. ELLENDER]. I am told, since I am the ranking member present, that I should substitute for the Senator from Louisiana, which I shall be glad to do, or turn that responsibility over to the acting majority leader (Mr. HUMPHREY].
Mr. HUMPHREY. I hope the Senator from Florida will take control. I should like to have lunch.
[Intervening debate omitted.]
Mr. COOPER. Madam President, if the Senator will yield, I should like to ask my question, for perhaps some member of the committee can answer it.
Mr. HOLLAND. Madam President, I yield to the Senator from Kentucky. I ask him how much time he desires.
Mr. COOPER. Four minutes.
Mr. HOLLAND. Madam President, I yield 4 minutes to the Senator from Kentucky.
Mr. COOPER. My concern about the bill goes to the question of the policy it expresses. As it came before the Senate, the bill was limited to textiles and textile products, by its reference to multilateral agreements concluded under section 204 of the Agricultural Act of 1956. It would have the effect of authorizing the President to limit the importation of cotton textiles from the countries which are not partners to the agreement.
The Senator from Minnesota offered an amendment, which has been agreed to, which would direct the President to negotiate -- the words used in the amendment are "the President shall negotiate." The amendment directs the President to negotiate agreements with other nations respecting a broad range of agricultural products, including timber and timber products.
My question goes only to the matter of policy. The President of the United States has sent to the Congress a trade message. He has asked the Congress to authorize him to reduce tariffs on all classes of items, rather than specific items, by 50 percent, and to reduce beyond 50 percent tariffs on those items in which the United States and the Common Market countries account for 80 percent of world exports. He asked us to authorize him to reduce all tariffs. Of course, the principle applies also to textiles and textile products, on which the agreement to limit exports to the United States has been negotiated. I would like to know whether this bill is consistent with the President's proposal. It seems to me that it is not, particularly since the amendment of the Senator from Minnesota has been agreed to.
Mr. MUSKIE. Madam President, will the Senator yield?
Mr. HOLLAND. I yield to the Senator from Maine as much time as he desires.
Mr. MUSKIE. Madam President, I am not sure that I can personally answer the distinguished Senator from Kentucky.
First, the President has not proposed a free trade policy. We have not had free trade in this country from the outset. The tariff bill was either the first or second piece of legislation enacted by the First Congress of the United States in 1789. Ever since that time, as a part of our trade policy, we have had some form of adjustment provision. International trade inevitably involves adjustment.
Sometimes the adjustment is made in the private sector of our economy. Sometimes it is made by virtue of Government policy. The President's Trade Expansion Act itself contains provisions for the purpose of enabling import-impacted industries to adjust to the objective of trade expansion.
So I think it is consistent with the objective of trade expansion to provide for trade adjustment policies in certain areas which public policy justifies.
Section 204 of the Agricultural Act of 1956 states:
The President may, whenever he determines such action appropriate, negotiate with representatives of foreign governments in an effort to obtain agreements limiting the export from such countries.
The Humphrey amendment would emphasize or reemphasize that language in current law. The language of the Humphrey amendment, which is quite clear, would direct the President to undertake to negotiate such agreements "when in his judgment such imports seriously affect domestic producers."
I point out to the Senator from Kentucky that negotiation requires and implies agreement by the other countries involved as well as ourselves. The Humphrey amendment would not authorize unilateral action. Section 204 itself does not authorize unilateral action.
Mr. COOPER. Madam President, will the Senator yield?
Mr. HOLLAND. I yield 2 minutes to the Senator from Kentucky.
Mr. COOPER. I shall be brief. The Humphrey amendment is pretty weak. It provides that the
President shall take action when "such imports seriously affect domestic producers." I cannot get
away from my belief that, despite the Senator's historical argument, on the one hand, the
President is asking the Congress to give him freedom and authority, and on the other hand, the
Congress is now attempting to restrict and limit that authority. We would direct him to take that
action. I would not raise the question with respect to the textile industry because agreements for
that industry have been negotiated with, but not yet signed by 19 countries, I do say that the
amendment adopted represents a conflict of policy.