The House : Agency Funding

By a vote of 237 for and 171 against, the House passed the conference report on a bill appropriating nearly $13.2 billion in fiscal 1986 for the Treasury Department, Postal Service, Internal Revenue Service and other agencies. The bill (HR 3036) was headed for the White House, where it is seen as veto-bait because of its high spending for postal subsidies of nonprofit mailers and for IRS and Customs Service operations.

It tops the Administration budget request by $951 million.

Supporter Edward Roybal (D-Los Angeles) said the IRS needs more money to upgrade its tax-collection efforts, the Customs Service needs more personnel to combat drug smugglers, and that the bill will avert exorbitant rate increases for charities and other nonprofit mailers.

Alluding to congressional debate over the Gramm-Rudman deficit-reduction legislation, opponent Robert Walker (R-Pa.) said, "At a time when we are posturing on questions of spending, it is high time that we begin to rein ourselves in. Here is a good place to start."

Members voting yes favored the bill.

How They Voted Yea Nay No vote Rep. Bates (D) x Rep. Hunter (R) x Rep. Lowery (R) x Rep. Packard (R) x

Oregon Dam

The House rejected, by a vote of 200 for and 220 against, an amendment to kill the Elk Creek Dam flood control project envisioned for the Rogue River Basin in Oregon. This kept alive a 23-year-old public works authorization that critics say is outdated and unnecessary. Construction of the $120-million project has not begun.

The vote occurred during debate on a massive water resources bill (HR 6) that funds some 200 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers projects expected to cost at least $16 billion. The bill remained in debate.

The issue went beyond Oregon boundaries. It caused some members from other states to wonder if a vote against Elk Creek Dam might cause disputed public works projects in their own districts to be retaliated against.

Jim Weaver (D-Ore.), who sponsored the amendment, called the Elk Creek Dam project "a monument to waste" that even the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers wants to scuttle.

Opponent Robert Smith (R-Ore.) said, "The Corps of Engineers' decision is not one that is final. It is this House of Representatives that directs what occurs in this nation."

Members voting no wanted to keep the project alive.

How They Voted Yea Nay No vote Rep. Bates (D) x Rep. Hunter (R) x Rep. Lowery (R) x Rep. Packard (R) x

Water Policy

The House rejected, 124 for and 296 against, an amendment to include the Mississippi River Valley tributary system--but not the main stems of the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers--in a nationwide cost-sharing policy to be implemented by the new water resources bill (HR 6).

The vote means all new Mississippi River basin water projects in Missouri, Louisiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Arkansas and Tennessee will be exempted from the cost-sharing policy and thus receive virtually 100% federal funding.

Elsewhere, states and localities will have to pay 25% to 30% of the bill for new projects in behalf of flood control, navigation and other objectives. The rationale is to force local governments to weed out unnecessary projects and to cut federal spending.

Berkley Bedell (D-Iowa), who supported the amendment, said no region should get preferential treatment in federal water policy because "if it is right for Iowa, it seems to me it should be right for Louisiana as well."

Opponent Bob Livingston (R-La) said, "Fully two-thirds of (America's) water flows through the Mississippi River system, and the whole nation benefits from its smooth and efficient performance."

Members voting no wanted Mississippi River Valley water projects to remain exempt from cost-sharing requirements.

How They Voted Yea Nay No vote Rep. Bates (D) x Rep. Hunter (R) x Rep. Lowery (R) x Rep. Packard (R) x

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