The House : Water Bill


The House passed, 358 for and 60 against, the first major water resources bill it has approved since 1976, a measure that would build 230 projects and upgrade about 150 others. The bill (HR 6) was sent to the Senate.

The bill would spend up to $20 billion over as many as 13 years for navigation, flood control, port development, drainage and other water projects affecting most of the 435 congressional districts and all states except Utah, South Dakota and Vermont.

The White House said the bill is veto bait because it contains too much pork barrel and is too expensive.


But White House cost-cutters and the environmental lobby praised it for making cost-sharing a major new component of federal water policy. Under cost-sharing, localities and states must help pay for projects that bring them economic benefits.

Members voting yes supported the bill.

How They Voted Yea Nay No vote Rep. Moorhead (R) x Rep. Roybal (D) x Rep. Waxman (D) x

Veto Override

By a vote of 380 for and 32 against, the House overrode President Reagan’s veto of a bill that sets broad policy goals and priorities for biomedical research conducted by the National Institutes of Health.

The Senate, which had passed the legislation unanimously, also was set to override the veto and make the bill law.

The measure (HR 2409), which is not a money bill, in part requires the National Institutes of Health to give research priority to afflictions such as arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease. Reagan said Congress was unduly injecting itself into the agency’s affairs.

Henry A. Waxman (D-Los Angeles), who voted to negate the veto, said lawmakers “feel that if the taxpayers’ dollars--$5 billion a year--are being used for biomedical research, we ought to spell out some of our priorities.”

Robert H. Michel (R-Ill.) voted to sustain the veto but said, “I certainly do not have my heart in it.”


Members voting yes wanted to override the presidential veto.

How They Voted Yea Nay No vote Rep. Moorhead (R) x Rep. Roybal (D) x Rep. Waxman (D) x

Plant Closings

An amendment crippling a bill in behalf of workers who lose their jobs when management closes plants or orders extended layoffs was adopted by the House on a vote of 215 for and 193 against.

The amendment was supported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and opposed by the AFL-CIO. The bill (HR 1616) was called off the floor because of this vote.

The bill requires employers with 50 or more workers to give 90 days notice of plans to close a plant, begin massive layoffs or make deep cuts in working hours.

This amendment stripped the bill of its requirement that management consult well in advance with unions to seek alternatives to closings or massive layoffs.

Foes said the requirement would enable unions to obtain court rulings to prevent companies from shutting down or curtailing plant operations, thus putting judges rather than management in charge of a company’s destiny.

Steve Bartlett (R-Tex.), who sponsored the amendment, said the consultation requirement amounts to “forcing the continued operation of a failed or failing business.”


Silvio O. Conte (R-Mass.) said the requirement would “give our working people and our communities at least a slingshot against the Goliath of sudden unemployment.”

Members voting yes wanted to delete the consultation provision and thus cripple the bill.

How They Voted Yea Nay No vote Rep. Moorhead (R) x Rep. Roybal (D) x Rep. Waxman (D) x