Textile Import Curb Bill Cleared for Vote

Times Staff Writer

The Senate cleared the way Thursday night for a vote on a measure that would put strict limits on textile imports, after the bill’s sponsors agreed to abandon their efforts to attach it to deficit-reduction legislation and its opponents withdrew their threat of a filibuster.

Both the deficit-reduction bill and the textile bill, which has become the focal point of protectionist sentiment on Capitol Hill, had been stalled for weeks as the two sides attempted to work out their differences.

Top Priority for Dole

The deficit-reduction measure, known as “budget reconciliation,” had been a top priority for Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole (R-Kan.) because it mandates changes in law necessary for Congress to meet the spending targets set in the budget resolution it adopted last August.


Under the agreement, the Senate will vote next week on the measures, both of which President Reagan has threatened to veto. The Administration contends that the textile bill violates its free-trade philosophy and insists that the deficit-reduction legislation does not cut spending enough.

5% Cuts Planned

Separately, the House Democratic leadership announced that it plans to attach to a vital stopgap spending measure an amendment that would make 5% cuts in a wide range of domestic and defense programs.

The cuts are designed to bring spending in those programs within targets set by the House-passed version of a controversial balanced-budget proposal.

The spending reductions would be in effect only for the three weeks covered by the bill, which is needed to keep the government operating as Congress continues work on this year’s appropriations bills. None of the 13 regular appropriations bills that set spending for various government agencies have been passed.

Although the cuts would be in force only briefly, the House leadership proposal was a symbolic escalation of the monthlong controversy over the balanced-budget plan.

The reductions in some areas, particularly defense programs, would be significantly sharper than those proposed under the Senate-passed version of the plan, and certain social programs marked for cuts by the Senate would be spared.


Disturbing Precedent

Senate officials said that implementing such cuts, even for three weeks, would be a disturbing precedent. The House amendment, if it is attached to the stopgap spending bill, threatens to force a House-Senate deadlock that could bring federal operations to a halt.

The balanced-budget plan is attached to another piece of legislation that is needed to keep the government operating past mid-month--a measure that would increase federal borrowing power above $2 trillion.