Helms Makes A Deal

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WASHINGTON, D.C.: Jesse Helms didnt come cheap. TIMEs Doug Waller reports that Helms agreed to stop blocking the chemical weapons treaty from coming to a Senate floor vote only when the White House pledged to reorganize the State Department. "It was a trade. Neither side wants to admit it, because Helms doesn't want to be perceived as selling out his opposition to the chemical weapons convention for his pet rock of reorganizing the State Department, while the Administration doesn't want to be perceived as reorganizing the State Department just to satisfy Helms and get a treaty through." The reorganization folds the U.S. Arms Control Agency and U.S. Information Agency into the State Department. Helms had argued the agencies were a waste of money. Whether the deal will finally enable the Clinton Administration to pass the international treaty banning the use and manufacture of chemical weapons is still very much up in the air. Minority leader Tom Daschle said there was only a 50-50 chance the it would pass, and the treaty comes to the floor with five Helms-sponsored amendments that the White House says could scuttle the agreement. "The bottom line," says Waller, "was the Administration realized Helms was never going to allow a vote on the convention to get to the floor unless this unfinished business got resolved on the State Department reorganization."