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U.S: Lawmakers To Vote Russia Aid, Debate NATO

Washington, 11 June 1997 (RFE/RL) - The U.S. House of Representatives plans today to debate a bill designed to help the Baltic states and Romania join NATO.

A congressional aide said the issue is expected to come up on the House agenda tonight (eds: after 2000 hours Prague time).

U.S. officials say the bill will then go to the Senate but that chamber is not expected to take action on it any time soon.

The measure calls on the executive branch to support early admission of Romania, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia to NATO and provides for U.S. assistance in preparing these countries for membership in the alliance.

The U.S. House of Representatives is also scheduled today to vote on an amendment that would deny all aid to Russia if that country sells supersonic missiles to China.

The amendment is attached to a bill on the reorganization of the State Department. Congressional sources say the U.S. Senate is not expected to take up the bill and that President Bill Clinton would likely veto it if it ever reached his desk.

U.S. officials say every president for the past 20 years has vetoed similar bills because under the U.S. constitution responsibility for foreign policy lies with the executive branch, not the legislature.