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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Senate Begins GATT Debate

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Senate begins debating a sweeping world trade accord Wednesday, its prospects for passage brightened, but not yet totally assured, after overwhelming approval for the pact Tuesday in the House of Representatives.

The House concluded four hours of sometimes impassioned, sometimes perfunctory debate by ratifying, 288 to 146, a vast expansion of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.

Twenty hours of debate were scheduled before the Senate was to vote on the measure late Thursday.

President Bill Clinton hailed the House's approval of the measure and urged Senate lawmakers to follow suit.

Supporters of the accord are confident they can muster the 50 votes needed in the 100-member Senate to approve the agreement once it comes up for final consideration.