The House has extended the life of its Select Committee on Hunger for two years. The vote was 286 to 124 and the resolution (H Res 20) does not require Senate action.
The panel's budget during the 99th Congress is estimated at $1.3 million. Because it is not a standing committee, it cannot pass legislation. It is one of five select committees in the House, along with ones dealing with narcotics (below), intelligence, children and families, and the aging.
Supporters say a special committee is needed to give the hunger issue the undivided attention it deserves. Critics say a non-legislative committee on hunger is unjustified in view of budget deficits and the fact that at least eight standing committees already have jurisdiction over the issue.
Supporter Hamilton Fish (R-N.Y.) said, "At a time when we see an entire (African) continent suffering drought and famine, and our own physicians are terming hunger in America as epidemic, we can do no less than to reauthorize this committee, to continue the fine work that it is doing."
Opponent Trent Lott (R-Miss.) said, "Let's spend the $1.3 million the committee will be requesting in the 99th Congress on feeding the hungry instead of further studies on hunger."
By a margin of more than 3 to 1, the House renewed the life of its Select Committee on Narcotics Abuse and Control. The vote on the resolution (H Res 22) was 310 to 94.
The panel was created in 1976 as a temporary committee, and has been renewed with each new Congress. Lacking authority to pass bills, its main function is to collect information and make recommendations to the several standing committees with jurisdiction over narcotics issues.
The committee's 1985-86 budget is estimated at $1.5 million.
Supporter James Scheuer (D-N.Y.) said that in the House only the Select Committee on Narcotics has the time and expertise to effectively address drug issues, and that "it would be an absolute tragedy if the (committee) were to disappear and each of these (standing) committees was left to struggle with the problem of drug addiction."
Opponent Bill Frenzel (R-Minn.) said: "You do not bring narcotics peddlers to their knees by hiring additional congressional staff. . . . If we want to spend this kind of money against narcotics, then let us beef up our control points, let us beef up the Drug Enforcement Administration."
How They Voted Yea Nay Did not vote Rep. Beilenson (D) x Rep. Berman (D) x Rep. Dixon (D) x Rep. Levine (D) x Rep. Waxman (D) x
Where to Reach Them
Anthony C. Beilenson, 23rd District
11000 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 14223, Los Angeles 90024 (213) 209-7801
Howard Berman, 26th District
14600 Roscoe Blvd., Suite 506, Panorama City 91402 (818) 891-0543
Julian C. Dixon, 28th District
111 N. La Brea Ave., Inglewood 90301 (213) 678-5424
Mel Levine, 27th District
5250 W. Century Blvd, Suite 447, Los Angeles 90045 (213) 215-2035
Henry A. Waxman, 24th District
8425 W. 3rd St., Suite 400, Los Angeles 90048 (213) 651-1040