WEDNESDAY: Congress on Slow Track

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If only there was a fast track for fast-track.... The international trade measure that Clinton so badly wants is mired in Congress, and not for want of votes. "It has the supporters to pass right now," says TIME Capitol Hill correspondent James Carney. "But the campaign that people like Gephardt are leading against it is scaring Republicans. They want some cover, some Democratic votes. They're just not inclined to give Clinton a victory on this if he can't bring along some of his own party."

Which is why the version that cleared the Senate Finance Committee Wednesday is in many ways a Republican creation. And as long as Clinton is half-hearted about telling Democrats to join them, Republicans will likely sit on the bill.

In 1993, the in-control Democrats gave Clinton NAFTA largely because he was one of their own. But four years later the blessings of that agreement seem mixed, and opposition has hardened. The year wanes fast; if Republicans will not move unaccompanied, Clinton might find that securing the prize of his second term takes far longer than he imagined.