The House


By a vote of 272 to 128, the House approved a deficit reduction bill that puts the fiscal 1990 federal budget in compliance with Gramm-Rudman limits on annual indebtedness. The Senate then approved the measure by voice vote, and President Bush signed it into law.

The "reconciliation" bill (HR 3299) would reduce red ink for the year that began Oct. 1 by at least $14.6 billion, lowering the deficit to the $110-billion level required by the Gramm-Rudman law. Legislated spending cuts would account for about $6.6 billion of the reduction and new taxes about $2.9 billion. Forced across-the-board cuts, in effect until February under "sequestration" provisions, would reduce the year's deficit by $4.6 billion, and lower Treasury borrowing costs resulting from the bill would save $629 million.

Along with cutting the deficit and enacting new taxes in specialized areas of the economy, the bill makes several policy changes. For example, it reforms the way physicians are reimbursed under Medicare, prohibiting them from charging unreasonable fees that ultimately are paid by taxpayers.

The measure confronts the deficit more squarely than any of the annual reconciliation bills passed previously this decade. Still, it leaves entitlement programs virtually untouched, resorts to accounting gimmicks, such as moving the $1.8-billion Postal Service deficit and $420 million in Farm Credit System bailout costs "off budget," and once again pushes the most difficult fiscal and political decisions on taming the deficit into the next year.

Supporter Leon E. Panetta (D-Monterey) said, "A yes vote provides for real deficit reduction."

Opponent Silvio O. Conte (R-Mass.) said the bill lacks "any significant effort to address the root cause of the deficit" entitlement programs.

Members voting yes supported the reconciliation bill.

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)

Nevada Wilderness

By a vote of 126 to 283, the House rejected an amendment to reduce by 40% the proposed Nevada wilderness area. Congress later sent to President Bush a bill (S 974) designating 733,000 unspoiled acres in the state as federal wilderness to be protected by law against logging, mining and other degrading commercial and recreational uses. All of the land is owned by the National Forest Service. This amendment sought to reduce the Nevada wilderness area from 733,000 to the 412,000 acres recommended by Agriculture Secretary Clayton Yuetter, who oversees the Forest Service.

If Bush signs the bill, Nevada will become the 50th state to have U.S. wilderness areas under terms of the 1964 Wilderness Act.

Amendment supporter Don Young (R-Alaska) said the bill was advocated by environmentalists and others "that think they have the God-given right to tell people that live on the land how they should live."

Opponent Peter H. Kostmayer (D-Pa.) said, "This so-called Draconian measure adds six-tenths of 1% of the state of Nevada to wilderness. I think that is very, very modest."

Members voting yes wanted to reduce Nevada wilderness areas by 40%.

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)


By a vote of 98 to 306, the House refused to remove "dial-a-porn" language from the fiscal 1990 appropriations bill for the departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, andEducation (HR 3566). This preserved Senate language to outlaw or curb services that provide sexually explicit telephone commentary to callers. A 1989 Supreme Court decision struck down an existing "dial-a-porn" law as an infringement on free speech. The new language was signed into law by President Bush as part of HR 3566.

Members voting to remove the language from the bill objected on procedural grounds.

They disliked the way the Senate had loaded up HR 3566 at the end of the 1989 session with provisions not germane to the bill.

They also objected to disregarding House rules and allowing an appropriations bill to be used as the vehicle for substantive changes in the law.

But lawmakers on the other side of the issue said the House should seize the opportunity to move against dial-a-porn services.

Members voting yes wanted to remove dial-a-porn language from the pending appropriations bill.

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

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