CLINTON, BILL

President Clinton to Senator Moynihan about NAFTA and 'the important...political issues you have raised'

Item #19457


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CLINTON, BILL - President Clinton to Senator Moynihan about NAFTA and 'the important...political issues you have raised'
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CLINTON, BILL - President Clinton to Senator Moynihan about NAFTA and 'the important...political issues you have raised'

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CLINTON, BILL. (b. 1946). Forty-second president of the United States. TLS. (“Bill”). 1p. Large 8vo. White House, March 24, 1993. On pale green White House stationery bearing the blind-embossed seal of the United States. To Senator DANIEL PATRICK "PAT” MOYNIHAN (1927-2003).

 

“Thank you very much for your letter concerning the North American Free Trade Agreement. I have asked Michael Kantor, the United States Trade Representative, to meet with you as soon as possible about the important substantive and political issues you have raised. Please know how much I appreciate your commitment and leadership on this and other initiatives of this Administration…”

 

Clinton, a former Arkansas governor, became the youngest president since Kennedy upon his election in 1993, and his re-election made him the first Democrat since FDR to serve a full second term. Clinton’s 8-year tenure marked the longest period of peacetime economic expansion in America’s post-war history, and he left office with the highest approval rating of any president in the second half of the 20th century. Unfortunately, a series of sex scandals overshadowed his accomplishments. His 1998 impeachment by the House was only the second time in American history that a president had been impeached (the first being Andrew Johnson in 1868).  Both presidents were acquitted by the Senate.

 

Moynihan served the Kennedy and Johnson administrations as assistant secretary of labor until 1965. Following a failed bid for election to the New York City Council, he became director of the Harvard–MIT Joint Center for Urban Studies.Despite his Democratic affiliation, he was selected by President Nixon as his counselor on urban affairs. His subsequent diplomatic career included ambassadorships to India and the United Nations. In 1977, he was elected to the Senate, representing New York from 1977 to 2001.

 

In 1990, the United States, Canada and Mexico began negotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement, the goal of which was to open up trade between the three North American nations. After two years of negotiations, the treaty, which eliminated tariffs and imposed environmental regulations, was signed in December 1992 by Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, Mexican President Carlos Salinas and outgoing American President George H.W. Bush. Approved by his successor, President Clinton, the agreement then went to Congress where it was debated on the House floor for 13 hours.

 

On November 17, 1993, the House of Representatives passed the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act. “The House vote was widely regarded as a key test of Clinton’s legislative acumen. A loss would have cast doubt on his ability to shepherd other Administration initiatives through Congress and weakened his hand in dealings with foreign leaders. The victory [gave] new momentum to his ambitious domestic agenda and pending trade talks with other nations. Perhaps more important, the verdict… [sent] a strong signal of U.S. willingness to continue exercising leadership in world affairs. Some supporters argued that a rejection would have heralded a dangerous new era of isolation and protectionism,” (“House Passes NAFTA, 234-200: Clinton Hails Vote as Decision ‘Not to Retreat’…” LA Times, Gerstenzang, November 18, 1993).

 

After passing the House, the bill went to the Senate where it passed three days later, on November 20th. Clinton signed it into law on December 8, 1993, stating “NAFTA means jobs. American jobs, and good-paying American jobs. If I didn’t believe that, I wouldn’t support this agreement.”

 

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Moynihan “was central to passage of the Canada Free Trade Agreement of 1988, but opposed passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement… Nevertheless he fought successfully to ensure that NAFTA provide trade adjustment assistance for workers affected by the legislation,” (Daniel Patrick Moynihan: The Intellectual in Public Life, Katzmann).

 

Our letter mentions Michael Kantor (b.1939), who, from 1993 to 1996, served as the United States Trade Representative charged with recommending and negotiating trade policy on behalf of the president. From 1996 to 1997, Kantor was Clinton’s secretary of Commerce.

 

Never folded and extremely fine. Docketed on the verso. 

 

 

 

Item #19457


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