Congress Not Expected to Vote on Trade Reform Act Until After the Election Recess

Congress probably will not vote on the Trade Reform Act and its strictures on Soviet-American trade relations until after its election recess, Capitol Hill sources said today. The House recesses Oct. 11 to allow members to campaign for the Nov. 5 elections and the Senate is expected to close four days later. These dates leave too little time for action by the Congress before the recess.

These views arose after a State Department announcement that Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger will be in Moscow Oct. 23-27 to discuss “matters of mutual interest” with Soviet leaders. He is to be in the Middle East Oct. 9-13. The Trade Act is to embody the Jackson Mills-Vanik legislation barring U.S. concessions to the Soviet Union until it ameliorates its emigration practices.

While a lame-duck Congress may decide the trade bill’s provisions, all of its principal backers are expected to be re-elected, including Democrats Wilbur Mills of Arkansas and Charles Vanik of Ohio, the emigration legislation’s principal House sponsors. The term of Senator Henry M. Jackson, the author of the legislation, does not expire until Jan. 1977.

Speculation that Kissinger will discuss the emigration provision in the trade bill while in Moscow were heavily discounted by Capitol sources. They pointed out that the only issue remaining is between the Administration and Congress on the authority to judge the results of Soviet practices. It is presumed the Soviet and American governments have agreed that 60,000 Jews and others will be allowed to leave the Soviet Union in the first year after the legislation goes into effect and that the year will test Soviet intentions and practices.

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