NFTC/USA*ENGAGE Senate Report Card Shows Overwhelming Bipartisan Support for Trade and Engagement

Wednesday, 25 October 2000


The NFTC and USA*ENGAGE have graded the Senate for two consecutive years, and have graded the House for the last three years. The House release, which was released in September 2000, also revealed a steady increase in pro-trade and engagement voting – 120 members received an ‘A+’ or ‘A,’ up from 96 in 1999 and only 25 in 1998.

"Like the House report card earlier this year, the number of Senate members who received a superior grade has also increased from 1999," said Frank Kittredge, President of the National Foreign Trade Council and Vice Chairman of USA*ENGAGE. "This year, 59 of 100 senators have earned an ‘A+’ or an ‘A’ – a significant improvement over the 24 senators who earned these grades last year."

"We are especially pleased with the level of bipartisan support, as an almost equal number of senators from both parties are receiving high marks," Kittredge said. "Twenty-seven Democratic senators earned an ‘A+’ or an ‘A’, along with 32 Republicans. The concept of engagement is clearly taking hold in both parties." He also stressed that this year’s votes were among the most controversial – including China PNTR and a China proliferation bill – making the high grades even more impressive.

Kittredge acknowledged that there were not many stand-alone votes on trade and engagement in the Senate on which to base this year’s grades. However, he said part of the reason is that there are fewer sanctions votes due to the growing awareness of the importance of overseas engagement. "As people recognize that engagement is more effective than targeting countries with sanctions, there are fewer anti-engagement bills that need to be taken," he said.

The 2000 Senate report card was prepared at the request of the NFTC and USA*ENGAGE member companies and associations. It examines key Senate votes, and gives "extra credit" to those members who co-sponsored legislation that would reform the way future sanctions laws are considered.

Grades for the Senate report card reflect member’s voting record on four key issues. All votes were evenly weighted, except for the vote on permanent trading status for China – given the importance of this issue, the vote on this measure was counted twice.

African Growth and Opportunity Act
Declares the support of Congress for the economic self-reliance of sub-Saharan
African countries committed to economic and political reform.
HR 434 - Vote on Conference Report - favorable position ‘y’
USA*Engage/NFTC position passed 77-19 May 11, 2000

Thompson China Amendment
Creates an annual process to authorize sanctions on China for weapons proliferation.
S. Amdt. 4132 - Vote on amendment - favorable position ‘n’
USA*Engage/NFTC position passed 65-32 September 13, 2000

China Permanent Normal Trading Relations (PNTR)
Authorizes the permanent extension of nondiscriminatory treatment to China.
HR 4444 - Vote on bill - favorable position ‘y’ - Vote double counted
USA*Engage/NFTC position passed 83-15 September 19, 2000

Sanctions Reform Bill - Extra Credit
Allows for a more deliberative process when applying unilateral economic sanctions.
S. 757 - Cosponsorship

The full report card is available on the USA*ENGAGE web site at www.usaengage.org.

USA*ENGAGE is a coalition of 670 small and large businesses, agriculture groups and trade associations working to seek alternatives to the proliferation of unilateral U.S. foreign policy sanctions and to promote the benefits of U.S. engagement abroad.

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