Reagan Vows Money Bill Veto Over Water Projects
President Reagan has threatened to veto a $13.5-billion catch-all money bill, which includes funds for the anti-Sandinista forces in Nicaragua, unless the Senate “reforms” provisions for water projects, Senate Republican leader Bob Dole said today.
Dole told reporters that the veto threat was relayed to him by budget director David A. Stockman during a meeting on Capitol Hill today but added that he was not certain what reforms the White House wants.
The Senate Appropriations Committee last week approved the bill and included $62.4 million for Army Corps of Engineer projects in many parts of the country. The House has approved $113.1 million.
Dole said he had planned to begin action on the bill at midweek but might have to postpone it on the basis of Reagan’s threat to veto the measure.
The supplemental appropriations measure contains $38 million in humanitarian aid for the contra rebels fighting the leftist Sandinista government in Nicaragua. Reagan made the contra money a top priority project.
Dole said Reagan was “prepared to veto the bill--even with the contra money in it” unless “some reforms are included.”
“We discussed reforms earlier,” Dole said. “I assume we’ll have to go back to the drawing board” unless Appropriations Committee chairman Mark O. Hatfield (R-Ore.) objects.
Senate Democratic leader Robert C. Byrd said, in response to a question, that he was willing to risk a “confrontation” with the White House on the Gallipolis project in his state of West Virginia.
The catch-all bill, which contains fiscal 1985 money for virtually all government departments, also includes $1.5 billion in aid to Israel and $500 million for Egypt.