From: Melinda Lamont-Havers
Subject: Lott Press Conference
Thu, 10 Apr 1997 16:51:42 -0400
SENATE MAJORITY LEADER HOLDS REGULAR NEWS BRIEFING
APRIL 10, 1997 SPEAKERS: U.S. SENATOR TRENT LOTT (R-MS)
We are still working on substance and procedure on how we move on
the conventional weapons convention.
Again, I think we've made progress there. I've met and talked with
administration officials. It looks like we may be able to resolve a
couple of other issues we were very worried about, very concerned about
-- search and seizure provisions. We haven't got the language worked out
but I believe the administration is indicating that they think they can
do something in that area that would help our concern some.
Also, we think maybe we're going to get an agreement on the riot
control use of tear gas. So, we're getting down to two or three very
critical issues that will still probably not be agreed to and will have
to be debated and voted on on the floor of the Senate. We're looking at
the time frame. We do expect to get started on the issue next week
probably in the form of the bill, S-495, I believe it is.
Then, it would be followed by taking up the chemical weapons issue
early in the next week. We do have the Passover period which gives us a
little bit of a time problem, of that Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday.
But we believe we can get it to a consideration and then see how it
QUESTION: Not next week, the week after?
LOTT: We will begin on it next week, on the process. But to make
sure we have plenty of time to debate it and also a closed session of the
Senate to hear information that is classified. It takes some time. So,
you're talking about, you know, maybe as long as 15 hours of general
debate. But we're talking about a limited number of amendments with, you
know, limits on amendments in the areas where there has been agreement
But we think it would take the better part of probably four or five
All right, questions?
QUESTION: Which one are you going to go to, definitively it's the
LOTT: No, it's not necessarily the next issue. In fact, we will
have some intervening issues. We are still working on seeing if we can
clear the nomination of Pete Peterson to be ambassador. We think that
the Alexis Herman nomination may be ready for consideration next week to
be secretary of labor.
That would probably take some time because there are some issues
that have been raised that have to be answered for the senators before
they would want to vote on that nomination. So, things like that could
QUESTION: Have you made progress with the administration on your
parallel foreign policy issues that you've mentioned?
LOTT: Yes I think we have made progress. And I don't think maybe
we've made enough of that. There were some very important issues that we
call parallel issues to the weapons treaty or convention issue. One of
course was UN reform. Now we're very unsatisfied with the way money is
spent. And how much spent at the United Nations. We think that our fee
that we are charged to be in the UN is unfair, it needs to be modified.
So we have set up a working group on that. We've met with Secretary
Albright twice. Once when she was actually still at the UN with Bill
Richardson and a bipartisan bicameral group. And we have sort of
identified the areas of greatest concern, what we think the arrearage is.
And we're beginning to work on a way to deal with that. So I think
progress has been made there.
Also on State Department reauthorization, Chairman Helms has
received assurances and reassurances and multiple assurances, but I still
think we're going to have to get a little more specificity in that area
as to what might be involved and when we can expect some action on that
and the president's cooperation.
But very, very importantly -- you know, we feel that the
administration is got to understand that treaties are strictly a two way
street that under the Constitution involves the Senate.
They've been holding back treaties. They come up here and say oh
you've got to move the treaties we want while holding back treaties that
we're very interested in and concerned about and think we should be
involved in advise and consent.
I identified three of those in a letter to the president, January 8.
LOTT: I got a response March 21, that was the date from Sandy
Berger. I actually got the letter just last week. But they did
indicate they agreed with us. And they were going to send up two of the
three treaties, the conventional forces in Europe treaty, the demarcation
issue with regards to ABM. They still don't agree with us on
multi-lateralization where the former Soviet Union countries have been,
you know, involved. But they are separate countries now.
We think that the Senate should consider that since there are
additional countries being involved not just Russia. So, we'll continue
to discuss that one but they are indicating they are going to send two
out of three. I think that is an important development. I think it is a
concession on the part of the administration. And that, I view as a step
in the right direction.