Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee added six years of fast-track negotiating authority to the budget reconciliation bill, but excluded workers' rights and environmental issues from the fast-track authority. Any agreements on workers' rights and environmental issues would have to be submitted to Congress separately, and would be subject to amendment. Even the Clinton administration and Democrats generally supporting extension of NAFTA are opposed to this particular fast track provision.
Republican members of the Ways and Means Committee retracted a previous threat to end all training and assistance for U.S. workers displaced by trade agreements (TAA), agreeing instead to extend TAA to October 2000, while cutting its funding by $519 million.
The budget reconciliation bill must still be approved by the House Rules Committee and then by full House of Representatives. A Senate version of the budget reconciliation bill will probably not contain the fast track provisions. Both Senate and House versions must be combined in a conference committee, and then passed by both houses. Fast track authorization and TAA may be kept in or eliminated at any of these stages.
Robert S. Greenberger and Nancy Keates, "'Fast-Track' Bill on Trade Agreements is Backed by Key Committee in House," WALL STREET JOURNAL, 9/22/95; Lori Wallach, "Sneak Attack," PUBLIC CITIZEN, 9/22/95; John Maggs, "Key House Democrats Set Out Terms for Supporting Fast-Track," JOURNAL OF COMMERCE, September 12, 1995.