THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Aboard Air Force One) ________________________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release September 25, 1998
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT
At a time of global financial turmoil, we should be working together to build a new bipartisan international economic policy that strengthens America's competitive edge. Renewing traditional authority is the right thing to do, but now was clearly the wrong time to vote on it.
The House of Representatives should focus its energies on making sure that the International Monetary Fund is strong enough to confront the financial crisis that threatens our economy today. That legislation has strong bipartisan support in the Senate, but has become entangled in politics in the House. Strengthening the IMF is the single most important thing we can do now to protect American farmers, ranchers, and workers who depend on exports to make a living.
At a time when we need to forge a new consensus on trade, Congress has chosen partisanship over progress. To move our trade policy forward this year, Congress still has time to enact important legislation from the Africa trade legislation to the global shipbuilding treaty and the Caribbean Basin Initiative. And when Congress returns next year, we should do the hard work of building a bipartisan coalition for traditional negotiating authority so that we can build on our successful record of expanding markets for American goods, services, and agricultural exports.