The House : Financing for Congress
The conference report on a bill appropriating just under $1.6 billion in fiscal 1986 for the House, Senate and congressional agencies was adopted by the House on a vote of 251 for and 164 against.
The bill (HR 2942) received Senate approval on a non-record vote and became law.
Among other outlays, it provides $95.8 million for the salaries and operating expenses of House committees ($4 million more than the 1985 level), $169.4 million for the salaries of House members’ personal staffs (up $2 million), $83.3 million for House members’ official expenses (up $10 million) and $144.5 million for House and Senate mailing (up $59 million).
Supporter Jerry Lewis (R-Highland) called the bill “a demonstration program” for the rest of the government in restraining federal spending.
No opponent spoke during brief House consideration of the conference report. During earlier debate critics called it extravagant.
Members voting yes supported the legislative branch appropriations bill.
By a vote of 210 for and 214 against, the House rejected an amendment to delete money for 12 new MX missiles--$1.7 billion--from the fiscal 1986 military appropriations bill. This reversed a roll-call vote the same day to remove the $1.7 billion from the $296.2-billion Pentagon spending bill, which later was sent to the Senate. The turnabout came after several members, in the face of lobbying by the Administration, dropped their initial opposition to funding 12 more MX missiles in 1986.
Members who voted against the MX earlier in the day, then changed to support the weapon by voting no on this amendment, were Arlan Stangeland (R-Minn.) Rod Chandler (R-Wash.) and Claude Pepper (D-Fla.).
Members who voted against the MX on the first roll-call, then helped the Administration secure victory by failing to vote hours later on this amendment, were Silvio Conte (R-Mass.) Don Bonker (D-Wash.) and Kenneth Gray (D-Ill.).
Amendment sponsor Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said members could cast “a free Gramm-Rudman deficit reduction score card vote, because you can kill the $1.7 billion and no one is going to tell you that you have damaged our national security.”
Opponent Bill Chappell (D-Fla.) said the amendment “would halt deployment of (about 40) MX missiles already funded and . . . would be a serious, serious mistake.”
Members voting yes wanted to block production of 12 more MX missiles.
By a vote of 245 for and 174 against, the House approved and sent to the Senate the final $19-billion portion (HR 3128) of its three-year “budget reconciliation” package implementing deficit reductions endorsed earlier in Congress’ 1986 budget resolution. About $10 billion in savings would be made in the Medicare program for the elderly, while $7.6 billion would be raised by increasing revenues.
The measure, opposed primarily by those favoring more cuts or opposing areas of increased spending in the deficit-reduction bill, would continue restrictions on Medicare payments to doctors and hospitals. It would retain the 16-cent tax on a pack of cigarettes, now scheduled to drop to eight cents. New customs fees would be imposed upon travelers arriving in the U.S. Two-parent families in which both are unemployed would qualify for welfare payments, and a compensation program for workers laid off as a result of imports would be extended four years. The tax on coal would be increased to fund miners’ disability benefits.
Supporter Harold Ford (D-Tenn.) said the bill satisfied commitments to “reduce the deficit, and to provide a safety net.”
Opponent Willis Gradison (R-Ohio) said: “What we have before us is a deficit-reduction fig leaf being used to cover up new spending.”
Members voting yes supported the bill.