O'Neill Sees Tight Vote on MX Funding

Associated Press

House Speaker Thomas P. (Tip) O'Neill Jr. (D-Mass.) said that opponents of the MX missile are within striking range of blocking the weapon in the House this week and that the outcome could be decided by a margin as slim as six votes.

"It's an uphill battle, but it's close," O'Neill, an MX critic, said in a weekend interview.

He said a Democratic head count conducted in the last few days showed "a hard 196" votes against the MX among the 251 majority-party Democrats in the House.

"How the Republicans are going to vote, I really don't know. We have to get some Republican votes; there's no question about that."

Vote Scheduled Tuesday

The House on Monday takes up President Reagan's request to free funds for an additional 21 MX missiles, with a vote scheduled for the next day.

After a heavy presidential lobbying campaign, the Republican-led Senate voted 55 to 45 to provide $1.5 billion for the missile.

"There's no question that the President is doing everything he can over the weekend and pulling out all the stops," O'Neill said. However, MX opponents seem to be gaining ground with "ones who were wavering," he added.

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