Rep. John J. LaFalce announced Tuesday he will oppose the Clinton administration's bid for no-strings authority to negotiate expanding the North American Free Trade Agreement to Chile and other Latin American nations.
The Town of Tonawanda Democrat privately told labor leaders last week he would fight bills proposed by the president and by Republican congressional leaders.
LaFalce, who voted against NAFTA, was targeted by the State AFL-CIO in a media campaign. The ads gave citizens a telephone number that automatically would switch them to LaFalce's office.
Labor leaders said two weeks ago that LaFalce had not made up his mind.
In a letter prepared for distribution to constituents, LaFalce said President Clinton's measure "does not sufficiently incorporate provisions allowing for the rights of labor and environmental concerns included in trade-agreement negotiations."
Gary Luczak, LaFalce's communications director, said labor's media drive did not influence his decision. The congressman, he said, rarely announces how he plans to vote on a bill.
LaFalce said he has urged the White House not to expand NAFTA -- a trade agreement among the United States, Canada and Mexico -- but to try to work out a bilateral agreement with Chile, guaranteeing the rights of labor and the environment, and dealing with exchange rate stability.
LaFalce's announcement deepens the hole in which fast-track supporters find themselves. Brent Blackwelder, head of a national coalition opposing the fast-track bill, said only 16 Democratic members of the House support the president.
Rep. Jack F. Quinn of Hamburg has been a leader in the Republican drive to kill fast-track.