November 3, 1997
The Administration supports House passage of H.R. 2644, which would provide
enhanced trade benefits for Caribbean Beneficiary Initiative (CBI) countries.
Earlier this year the President met with Caribbean leaders and pledged his
strong support for enhancing the CBI. The Administration, however, does have
some substantive and technical concerns with H.R. 2644 and will work with
Congress to address these concerns.
H.R. 2644 would affect revenue; therefore, it is subject to the pay-as-you-go requirements of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990. The Administration's scoring estimates for this bill are under development, but preliminary analysis suggests that the aggregate revenue losses may substantially exceed the revenue offset in the bill. The Balanced Budget Act of 1997 reduced the paygo balances to zero, and consequently, any bill that would increase mandatory spending or result in a net revenue loss would contribute to a sequester of mandatory programs as called for in the Budget Enforcement Act. In the case of H.R. 2644, the bill does not contain provisions to fully offset the net deficit increase. As a result, if this bill were enacted, any deficit effects could contribute to a sequester of mandatory spending. The Administration supports this bill, and will work with the Congress to ensure that such an unintended sequester does not occur.