Seeking Political Protection

Trade becomes a hot issue in Congress and on the trail

The House Republican whip backed the bill. So did a ranking party member on the Ways and Means Committee. Joining them was the entire Republican delegation from North Carolina plus an additional 52 G.O.P. Congressmen, including four seeking seats in the Senate this fall. The bill? The Democrats' harsh protectionist trade measure, opposed by President Reagan, which passed two weeks ago on a 295 to 115 vote after many once loyal free traders were spooked by what has become a looming issue in the 1986 campaign.

The U.S. trade deficit grew to an all-time high of $148.5 billion in 1985, up...

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