The House : Military Base Closings

The House voted, 250 to 138, to make it easier for the Department of Defense to gain congressional approval of plans to close military bases. The amendment was attached to legislation (HR 4481) to minimize Capitol Hill political pressures in the base-closing process. The Pentagon says up to 10% of the nearly 4,000 domestic bases could be closed without risking national security, at a savings of up to $5 billion annually.

The bill remained in debate.

The issue posed by this amendment was whether Congress should vote advance approval of a Pentagon-prepared list of bases to be closed, or instead could take a passive approach and let the closures occur without benefit of House and Senate record votes.

By adopting this amendment, the House opted for the passive approach, which all sides agreed would be politically less painful.

Amendment sponsor John R. Kasich (R-Ohio) said: "If the House has to move to take positive action to close bases down . . . we make the process of closing bases infinitely more difficult."

Opponent Jack Brooks (D-Texas) said the amendment "pays lip service to the idea of providing a congressional role in the base closing decision-making process."

Members voting yes favored fewer congressional obstacles to Pentagon plans to close obsolete bases.

How They Voted Yea Nay No vote Rep. Anderson (D) x Rep. Dornan (R) x Rep. Dymally (D) x Rep. Lungren (R) x

Small Business Financing

By a vote of 342 to 40, the House passed and sent to the Senate a bill (HR 4174) re-authorizing and expanding Small Business Administration programs through fiscal 1991. Businesses eligible for U.S. aid under the bill are generally defined as those with up to 500 employees, although larger concerns often qualify for help. The bill is projected by the Congressional Budget Office to cost $531 million next year. In addition to authorizing taxpayer-subsidized loans and loan guarantees, the legislation finances special programs, such as ones to spur exports, help women and minority entrepreneurs, provide disaster relief and help small businesses to get government contracts.

Supporter Joseph M. McDade (R-Pa.) said small-business operators "not only need but deserve to have a strong voice in their government."

Opponent David Dreier (R-La Verne) said "many of these programs are very costly and inconsequential and, quite frankly . . . ineffective."

Members voting yes supported the Small Business Administration re-authorization bill.

How They Voted Yea Nay No vote Rep. Anderson (D) x Rep. Dornan (R) x Rep. Dymally (D) x Rep. Lungren (R) x

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