Yesterday, NAFTA cleared the first hurdle in the legislative
process. In a voice vote in the House Ways & Means Subcommittee on
Trade, implementing legislation on NAFTA was approved without
objection. It now moves on to the full Committee for consideration.
New Poll Shows NAFTA Support
In a Times-Mirror poll released today, a plurality of those
polled voiced support for the NAFTA. 42 percent of those polled
supported NAFTA, while 37 percent opposed and 21 percent didn't have
a position. This is a shift from before the President's remarks at
the signing of the NAFTA side accords. In polls done before the
President's strong speech two weeks ago, those opposing NAFTA
outnumbered those supporting by 36-25 in a Wall St. Journal/NBC
poll, and 41-35 in a CNN/USA Today survey.
Today, the President will be meeting with Members of
Congress, continuing his efforts in support of NAFTA. In addition
to the numerous phone calls to lawmakers, the President has been
actively working to build support for NAFTA: Last Friday he
strongly applauded an Appeals Court ruling overturning the decision
which required an environmental impact statement before sending
NAFTA to Congress -- the last procedural hurdle; last Monday, the
President discussed NAFTA as part of his global vision in an address
to the opening of the General Assembly of the UN; and Wednesday he
stressed the link between exports, jobs, and NAFTA in his
announcement of the Administration's new export initiative.
California Reps. Beilenson, Berman Endorse NAFTA
In a statement released yesterday, Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA)
endorsed NAFTA, stating: "In the end, I conclude that passing NAFTA
is in the best interest of advancing my own intense commitment to
creating new, high-wage manufacturing jobs in Southern California."
Berman, who before entering Congress was a union labor lawyer, noted
that manufacturing jobs "have been the engine of upward mobility for
hundreds of millions of hard-working Americans," concluding, "I am
convinced that NAFTA is the route to restoring manufacturing jobs."
Rep. Anthony Beilenson (D-CA), in an interview Tuesday with
the Los Angeles Times, also came out in support of NAFTA. "What
we're talking about here is reducing trade barriers, almost all of
which have been erected in Mexico," Beilenson said. "Its clear that
we're going to be able to sell even more to them."