O'Neill Dubious, Michel Confused Over Covert Aid

United Press International

House Speaker Thomas P. (Tip) O'Neill said today that President Reagan lacks the votes to approve renewed covert aid to Nicaraguan rebels, and House GOP leader Robert H. Michel of Illinois acknowledged being confused and frustrated over the policy.

"You've got a covert assistance that isn't covert, and if you make it overt, it becomes something other than covert," said Michel, calling the policy of trying to win renewed congressional aid for covert actions against the Marxist Sandinista government in Nicaragua "a paradox."

Michel said that if he sounded confused, he is, and admitted that he might not understand himself what he is talking about.

O'Neill said, "I don't believe he (Reagan) has the votes in either the House or Senate for aid."

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