- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 7, 2001

Republican Sen. Jesse Helms, who sought input in a trade pact by holding up the appointment of eight Treasury Department nominees, abandoned his opposition Friday when the White House suggested it might make the appointments during recess.

The Senate confirmed the eight nominations, including Kenneth W. Dam as deputy Treasury secretary, on Friday before adjourning for a monthlong recess.

Mr. Helms, of North Carolina, lifted his "hold" on the candidates after Treasury Secretary Paul H. O'Neill wrote him a letter promising not to finalize regulations on a Caribbean trade pact until Congress devised a "legislative solution" to address Mr. Helms' concerns.

Mr. Helms has said the trade pact, called the Trade and Development Act of 2000, could cost his state 40,000 textile jobs.

He said the administration's definition of fabrics covered by the trade law and how the United States enforces the agreement will determine its effect on North Carolina.

Several sources indicated Mr. Helms agreed to the deal when it became clear that President Bush could install the nominees via recess appointments without promising Mr. Helms anything.

They said the administration had essentially made the same promise to Mr. Helms many weeks ago.

A hold allows senators to indefinitely block action on a presidential nomination for any reason.

Senate Republican leaders also applied pressure to change Mr. Helms' position, and Majority Leader Tom Daschle, South Dakota Democrat, persuaded Sen. Ernest F. Hollings, South Carolina Democrat, to tone down his objections to the trade agreement.

Those developments left Mr. Helms isolated in his protest and allowed Democratic leaders to argue that Republicans were holding up the Treasury candidates.

The Senate appointed Peter Fisher to undersecretary for domestic finance; Jimmy Gurule to undersecretary for enforcement; Michele Davis to assistant secretary for public affairs; Rosario Marin to U.S. treasurer; Henrietta Holsman Fore as director of the Mint; Carole Brookins as U.S. executive director of the World Bank; and Randal Quarles as U.S. executive director of the International Monetary Fund.

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