The House : Lie-Detector Testing

A bill (HR 1524) making it illegal for private employers to engage in polygraph, or lie-detector, testing of present and prospective employees was passed by the House and sent to the Senate on a vote of 236 for and 173 against.

Exempted from the ban would be companies handling government intelligence material as well as certain pharmaceutical workers and employees of day-care centers, nursing homes and electric power companies. Federal, state and local governments also could legally administer lie-detector tests under the legislation.

About 2 million polygraph tests are administered annually, according to sponsors of the legislation. Companies say the tests are an important safeguard against theft by employees.

Supporter Richard Shelby (D-Ala.) said polygraph tests “are flawed, not reliable. We should not play with this kind of thing. Let us protect our constitutional rights.”

Opponent Bob Livingston (R-La.) said the bill should be defeated as unwarranted intrusion by the national legislature into states’ rights.

Members voting yes wanted to outlaw most polygraph testing by private employers.

How They Voted Yea Nay No vote Rep. Anderson (D) x Rep. Dornan (R) x Rep. Dreier (R) x Rep. Dymally (D) x Rep. Hawkins (D) x Rep. Martinez (D) x Rep. Torres (D) x

Reagan Budget

President Reagan’s proposed federal budget for fiscal 1987, which begins next Oct. 1, was rejected by the House on a vote of 12 for and 312 against. The vote concerned politics as much as fiscal policy, with Republicans accusing Democrats--who control the House--of staging it in order to embarrass the President. Democrats responded that Reagan’s budget ought to be fully exposed to the public, with lawmakers required to go on record for or against it.

Both sides agreed that the House vote was unprecedented, for in the past presidential budgets have been debated alongside alternative plans put forward by the two parties and subgroups within each party.

While budget proposals lack the force of law, they serve the important purpose of identifying spending priorities and limits and setting deficit-reduction targets.

Reagan’s blueprint, which he sent to Congress in February, has been widely denounced on Capitol Hill, largely because it calls for robust hikes in defense spending at the expense of politically popular domestic programs that benefit the middle class.

It projects outlays of $994 billion, revenue of $850.4 billion, and a deficit of nearly $144 billion, which is within the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings austerity goals for fiscal 1987.

Trent Lott (R-Miss.) who declared himself “present” (not voting) out of protest, said, “This is not the congressional budget process. . . . It is a partisan fudge-it process designed to score some political points and obscure the lack of a Democratic alternative” to Reagan’s budget.

Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who voted no, said, “I do not understand why it is considered illegitimate to vote on the President’s budget. If it is defeated, there will be a chance to vote on the alternatives.”

Members voting no opposed President Reagan’s proposed federal budget for fiscal 1987.

How They Voted Yea Nay No vote Rep. Anderson (D) x Rep. Dornan (R) x Rep. Dreier (R) x Rep. Dymally (D) x Rep. Hawkins (D) x Rep. Martinez (D) x Rep. Torres (D) x