Md. lawmakers undecided on NAFTA

September 02, 1993|By John B. O'Donnell | John B. O'Donnell,Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON -- Going into a campaign to win congressional approval of the North American Free Trade Agreement, President Clinton faces an uphill battle with the Maryland delegation.

Most of the 10 Marylanders haven't taken a firm stand. Only one, Eastern Shore Republican Wayne T. Gilchrest, is openly supporting the the agreement, saying, "We have very little to lose and a great deal to gain."

Baltimore County Republican Helen Delich Bentley has been campaigning against the treaty for months and says, "Right now, I think we'll beat it."

Western Maryland Republican Roscoe G. Bartlett has said that he plans to vote against it.

Rep. Kweisi Mfume, the Baltimore Democrat, was opposed to the treaty last month and, according to an aide, will probably remain opposed. Mr. Mfume heads the Congressional Black Caucus, which has denounced the agreement.

The remaining six members of the delegation haven't made up their minds. Republican Constance A. Morella is leaning in favor of the treaty, while Democrat Albert R. Wynn is leaning in the other direction, according to aides.

The state's two Democratic senators, Barbara A. Mikulski and Paul S. Sarbanes, have taken no positions, say their aides. And two House Democrats, Benjamin L. Cardin and Steny H. Hoyer, say they haven't made up their minds.

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