The domestic textile-apparel industry won another skirmish here Friday but in the process may have lost the war in its effort to impose new curbs on foreign competition.
By a vote of 57-32, the Senate approved legislation Friday to slap new restrictions on imported clothing, fabric and shoes, but the margin fell 12 votes shy of the necessary two-thirds majority required to override an almost certain presidential veto.Proponents acknowledge that chances for an override are slim.
"I'm worried about it," conceded U.S. Sen. Ernest F. Hollings, D-S.C., floor manager for the textile-apparel trade bill.
U.S. Trade Representative Clayton K. Yeutter and six other Cabinet members have recommended that President Reagan veto the bill if it reaches his desk.
The administration says the bill represents protectionism that would narrow consumer choices, raise prices, bring on retaliation against American products and actually cost more jobs on the waterfront and elsewhere than it would save.
Given the poor showing in the House last year and the Senate vote Friday, U.S. Rep. Butler C. Derrick, D-S.C., chairman of the Congressional Textile Caucus, said he was "not too encouraged" about the prospects of overriding a veto.
The House passed its version of the textile bill on Sept. 16 by a 263-156 vote. Even if 11 sponsors who did not vote were added to the proponents, the total would still fall short of the two-thirds needed for an override.
"I'm going to give it everything I can, but it's going to be an uphill fight," Derrick acknowledged.
The bill would freeze this year's textile and apparel imports at 1987 levels and allow 1 percent annual growth thereafter. Also included is a provision to allow the government to auction import quotas among U.S. importers, a move designed to attract business interest.