WASHINGTON (Sept. 14)—A bill to permanently normalize trade relations with China cleared a major obstacle toward Senate passage when an amendment which would have threatened final passage was defeated 65-32. The amendment, by Sens. Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., and Robert Torricelli, D-N.J., would have required sanctions against China for exporting nuclear, chemical or biological weapons. The Clinton administration hopes to get the bill passed without any amendments. Otherwise, the legislation will have to go back to the House of Representatives, which passed the bill in its current form last May. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., said he expects the bill to pass with at least the required 60-vote majority either Sept. 15 or early the week of Sept. 18.