The House Friday approved and sent to President Reagan tightened curbs on textile, apparel and shoe imports. Sponsors failed to gather enough votes to override a threatened veto.
"I'd like to take this opportunity to remind you that half of the flags we are pledging allegiance to were made in Asian-rim countries. That is about the amount of the textiles and apparel we have lost," said Rep. Butler Derrick, D-S.C., shortly before the bill passed by a vote of 248-150.The legislation, designed to protect American industry from foreign competition, would:
-Freeze textile and apparel imports at 1987 levels this year and limit growth to 1 percent annually starting in January.
-Freeze non-rubber footwear imports with no provision for increases.
-Impose import quotas on 180 categories of textile products and 30 types of footwear, a system that would be reviewed after 10 years.
-Set up a one-year program under which the government would auction off import licenses and set a special quota for silk neckties.
Two-thirds support is needed to pass the bill over a presidential veto. Textile forces thus fell short of what they would need for such an effort in the House, which has 435 seats, three of them vacant.
The House approved a slightly differing version of the bill 263-156 in September 1987. The vote Friday merely represented approval of changes wrought by the Senate.
Reagan is expected to veto the bill soon after it reaches the White House. Derrick, a sponsor, said Thursday that the override effort would most likely come the first week in October.
That would put it only a few days before lawmakers plan to leave Washington for the year and go back home to campaign full time. But the political overtones of the measure have not caused the Reagan administration to shrink from its objections.
White House spokesman Marlin Fitzwater set the stage - and the tone - for the debate on Thursday when he told reporters that Reagan "wouldn't veto it until next week."
U.S. Trade Representative Clayton K. Yeutter and six other Cabinet officers said in a letter to lawmakers that "if this bill is passed, we and the president's other senior advisors will recommend that he veto it."