The House


Budget Battle

By a vote of 172 to 252, the House defeated an amendment sponsored by the Democratic leadership in hopes of getting Republicans, Democrats, conservatives, liberals and moderates to agree on budget priorities.

This occurred during debate on a bill (HR 2072) providing $4.7 billion in supplemental appropriations for domestic programs in the remaining five months of fiscal 1989. It caused Democratic leaders to abruptly pull the bill from the floor.

The bill’s price tag is $2.6 billion more than sought by the Bush Administration, as a result of the Democratic-led Appropriations Committee adding money for housing, homeless, veterans, anti-drug and other domestic programs. At issue was how to cut the overall federal budget to make room for the additional spending.


The plan rejected by this vote called for across-the-board cuts affecting most discretionary spending programs in the remainder of fiscal 1989 and totaling nearly $2.6 billion. Because defense as well as social programs were seen as being impaired, conservatives and liberals joined to provide the wide margin of defeat.

Sponsor Tom Foley (D-Wash.), the House majority leader, said the amendment offered members “the first opportunity we will have this year to indicate whether we are going to live within the budget restraints.”

Objecting to defense cuts, Joseph McDade (R-Pa.) called the measure “management by meat cleaver.”

Members voting yes supported the Democratic leadership’s budget plan.

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

To Waive Budget Act

The House agreed, 223 to 198, to debate the supplemental appropriations bill (above) under a rule waiving the fiscal restraint of the Congressional Budget Act. This cleared the way for floor consideration of the measure (HR 2072).

The waiver was needed because the bill’s $4.7-billion price tag exceeded legal spending limits that Congress imposed on itself for fiscal 1989 under the budget act. The House and Senate often grant such waivers so they can spend more than they previously allowed themselves.


Supporter Leon E. Panetta (D-Monterey) said the waiver would not increase the deficit because the bill’s pay-as-you-go approach was designed to honor 1989 spending limits.

Opponent Bob Michel (R-Ill.), the minority leader, said the regular granting of budget waivers “explains in part why the deficit is still where it is.”

Members voting yes wanted to exempt the supplemental appropriations bill from statutory spending limits.

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