[Congressional Record Volume 146, Number 107 (Wednesday, September 13, 2000)]
[Pages S8444-S8445]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                               CHINA PNTR

  Mr. THOMAS. Mr. President, I asked for morning business because I am 
not sure where we are focused, but I want to continue to talk about 
PNTR, a topic that I hope we are able to conclude shortly.
  Certainly one of the most important issues we have before us is the 
issue and the way I come to the conclusion. We all talk about the 
problems that exist. Obviously, there are problems that exist. I serve 
as chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs that 
has dealt over a number of years with the issue of China. I don't think 
there is a soul here who wouldn't wish things were different there with 
respect to human rights, some of the issues with respect to 
proliferation, some of the issues with respect to freedom, and market 
system changes. I don't think that is the issue. The issue is how we 
best bring about that change. That is really what it is all about.
  Do we do it through threats to the PRC? Do we do it with sanctions? I 
think people have learned quite a bit in seeking to deal with Cuba with 
sanctions. It has had very little impact and very little effect. I 
happened to be in Beijing where we were having the great debate over 
some of the things that were controversial. They canceled a large order 
with Boeing. What did they do? They bought Airbuses from France. 
Sanctions don't work.
  I happen to come from a State where we are very interested in 
agriculture. So we need to do that.
  Someone suggested during the course of the discussion over the last 
couple of days that this bill, if it passed, to grant permanent trade 
relations would be, in a word, ``rewarding'' China. I don't agree with 
that. The fact is, we would

[[Page S8445]]

be rewarding ourselves with regard to trade. The opening has already 
been given to China. We are the ones to whom they have agreed, if this 
happens, to lower tariffs on a number of our things that go there. It 
really doesn't change the situation much with regard to China. It gives 
us a better opportunity to do that.
  We also argue about how we implement these changes. Are we more 
likely to bring about changes if we are part of a multilateral group 
such as the WTO or are we more likely to do it with the unilateral 
kinds of things for ourselves? I happen to believe we would be better 
off to have an organizational structure such as the WTO to go through 
to talk about some of the things we think are not being done properly. 
Does that mean we don't continue to monitor things such as human 
rights, that we don't continue to monitor things such as weapons 
proliferation? Of course not. The question really is, Do we go ahead 
with this bill as it is and at the same time go ahead and monitor the 
other things as well?
  I am opposed to the Thompson amendment, which is an amendment to the 
bill to establish normal trade relations.
  First of all, as I mentioned, I am chairman of the subcommittee that 
has jurisdiction over some of these issues. Neither the Foreign 
Relations Committee nor the Banking Committee has been afforded the 
opportunity to consider and debate this issue before it was brought to 
the floor. That is not the customary way to deal with issues that are 
as far reaching as this one. To bring it to the floor without going 
through the committees and giving the committees of jurisdiction the 
opportunity to consider it--the Banking Committee, as you know, which 
has jurisdiction over a portion of these kinds of arrangements, is very 
upset about this process.

  We, of course, argue that under the time constraints it is most 
difficult. The House passed a bill to open normal trading relations. By 
the way, the Senate has done it every year for normal trading 
relationships. This is really a departure from what has been done. But 
certainly, if we amend it at this time in this session, we will have a 
difficult time getting it completed.
  My first problem is jurisdictional, of course. It was introduced by 
Senator Thompson. We had plenty of time and could have done it in May. 
It could have gone through those committees. But it didn't go to either 
committee. Certainly the kinds of changes that would be made there 
would apply. We ought to have that kind of process and not limit the 
process entirely. The House, of course, has passed this bill by a large 
majority, and we need to move forward with it.
  Aside from the jurisdictional concerns, I have a fairly large number 
of substitute concerns regarding issues of proliferation, and 
particularly the problem of transfers to Pakistan. I don't believe this 
amendment will do anything to change the situation. Instead, it would 
turn us to the discredited, failed strategy of mandatory unilateral 
sanctions and annual votes on the status of China trade.
  We have already talked a great deal, of course, about the passage of 
an amendment and the impact it would have on the relationship. I want 
to stress again that trying to work with China on some of those things 
does not make us oblivious to the things on which we disagree with 
them. Surely, human rights we are going to continue to champion.
  Again, we have to consider how to best have an influence on bringing 
about change--change that has not occurred as completely as I would 
like. I can tell you from my experience that there is change. The more 
visibility the people of China have to the outside world--the fact of 
market systems, the fact that personal freedoms provide a much better 
way of life, it is becoming more and more evident. For years, of 
course, they have not had any opportunity to see what is going on in 
the world. For example, things have changed substantially in China. Now 
they see it. It is important to encourage changes that need to take 
  Of course, with respect to another statute that does something about 
proliferation, we already have numerous statutes available to the 
President. There is a long list, including the Export-Import Bank Act, 
the Arms Control Disarmament Act, the Arms Export Control Act, and the 
International Emergency Economic Powers Act. It goes on and on. They 
provide the very authority that is being talked about in some of these 
amendments. They are in place.
  Someone said it gives the President the opportunity to decide and be 
flexible about it. Then the author--in this case, the Senator from 
Tennessee--assures Members that this also has a waiver and it gives the 
President the opportunity to change. We have very little reason to have 
more legislation in this area.
  Finally, I vote against this amendment for the same reason I voted 
against all the amendments that preceded it. I am, along with the 
distinguished Senator from Delaware, Mr. Roth, chairman of the Finance 
Committee, and many others, opposed to adding amendments that will, 
indeed, have the effect of delaying or killing the PNTR bill. Most any 
amendments would have that effect. I believe most of the Members of 
this body also believe that because each of the amendments that have 
been offered have not survived and have lost by a rather substantial 
vote. I hope we continue to do that.
  It is pretty unrealistic while we are trying to complete the work of 
this Congress to think we can spend another week going back and forth 
in conference with the House and get this done.
  I know there are justifiable differences of view. That is what this 
system is all about. We ought to talk about those. It is my view we 
have talked about them and there ought to be an end game so we can move 
on. We keep talking about the things we have to do, including 11 
appropriations bills out of 13 that have not yet been passed. Several 
have not even been marked up. We have less than 3 weeks, 14 days, to 
work on these. We know very well that the President is going to create 
some obstacles to the completion of our work so he can have more 
leverage to get the kinds of spending he wants and put the pressure on 
the majority party in the Congress.
  All these things are real and realistic and not unusual. I think we 
need to understand where we are. I think we need to take a look at the 
job we do have to do so the American people can continue to be served 
by those programs that are in the appropriations, that we continue to 
strengthen education, so we can do something about fairness and tax 
relief, so that we can move forward in moving some of this money to 
lower the debt. We ought to continue to work in seeking to get some of 
the pay back for strengthening Medicare so some of those reductions 
that have been made can be replaced so we have services in the country. 
I have particular interest in that as cochairman of the rural caucus 
for health care. Some of the small hospitals and small clinics need it 
to happen. We need to move forward and not spend 2 weeks on a 
repetitious review of the same issues. There comes a time we should 
move forward.
  Therefore, I strongly urge we do move forward and that we do not 
amend the bill before the Senate. Conclude it and send it to a 
satisfactory signing at the White House and move forward on the issues 
facing the Senate.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. SMITH of New Hampshire. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent 
that the order for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.