House widens president's power to negotiate trade

Friday, December 7, 2001

WASHINGTON -- In a victory for a wartime White House, the House narrowly approved legislation Thursday giving President Bush stronger authority to negotiate global trade deals.

The vote was 215-214, and came after House Speaker Dennis Hastert made a forceful plea for supporting a commander in chief leading the worldwide fight against terrorism.

"This Congress will either support our president who is fighting a courageous war on terrorism and redefining American world leadership or we will undercut this president at the worst possible time," said Hastert, R-Ill.

Shot back Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y.: "To infer ... that we're not as patriotic as the next person is wrong."

The vote sent the bill to the Senate, where Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., who has said before that no action is expected before next year.

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