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Expanding Opportunity

Excerpt from July 30, 2002 Press Briefing with
White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer

Click here for the full transcript

MR. FLEISCHER: This week marks the Senate's last week in session before they recess for the August break, and there are several major items that the President hopes the Senate will be able to conclude action on before they go home. The President calls on the Senate to pass Trade Promotion Authority so that he can have the authority that previous Presidents have had, which has been lacking for the last 10 years. The President looks forward to action on that and hopes he'll be able to sign that into law as a result of passage this week.

Q: Yes, Ari. I have two questions for you. The first one is, last week the House of Representatives passed fast track legislation by a narrow vote of 215-212 --

MR. FLEISCHER: That's a tripling of the margin the last time the House passed it. (Laughter.)

Q: From one to three, right. The President went up to lobby for it, got it through. The Senate approved its fast track legislation in May, by a 66-30 vote. My question is, does the White House expect the Senate to pass it, and to pass it this week, as you have asked for twice today?

MR. FLEISCHER: The President is hopeful that the Senate will pass it this week. It's very important that the Senate pass it this week, because again, how crowded can the highways be in the fall, if the Senate puts off action? The traffic jam is going to be so big, it's going to be hard to get things done. So the President hopes the Senate will pass it this week. And the word out of the Senate looks promising. Again, this is -- the Senate leadership makes these determinations. I don't try to guess what votes will be. It is the history of the House and the Senate that the Senate has been a place of much more bipartisan support for Trade Promotion Authority than the House in recent years.