Flag Amendment

By a vote of 254 to 177, the House failed to achieve the two-thirds majority it needed to approve a constitutional amendment against desecration of the American flag. Although thisshelved the proposed change in the Bill of Rights, the Senate was to take up the measure (HJR 350) to get its members on record on the explosive issue. The 20-word constitutional amendment sought to clear the way for state and federal laws protecting the flag from physical abuse. Such measures now violate the Constitution's free-speech guarantees, the Supreme Court has held.

Supporter Henry J. Hyde (R-Ill.) said: "Let us take the flag out of the gutter where the counterculture has dragged it and is sneering at us. This is an opportunity not to get even with some creeps but to say there are transcendent values that are important to every American that unify us, that bring us together as a community, one nation under God, indivisible."

Opponent Wayne Owens (D-Utah) said: "How foolish we look to allow a few fools who have burned a few flags in well-publicized events to drive us into this feeding frenzy, where we . . . attempt the desecration of the Bill of Rights by an unjustifiable and unneeded constitutional amendment."

A yes vote was for changing the Constitution to protect the flag.

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

Flag Statute

By a vote of 179 to 236, the House defeated a bill to protect the American flag by statute rather than the rejected route (above) of amending the Constitution. The bill (HR 5091) would have made it a federal crime to damage a flag owned by the government or situated on U. S. property, or in a way that provokes violence. The wording was designed to get around Supreme Court objections to previous flag protection laws.

Sponsor Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) said: "Our purpose is not to punish speech but to punish vandalism against the flag."

Opponent F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.) called the measure "a fig leaf for those who are attempting to get political cover" after having voted minutes earlier against a constitutional amendment.

A yes vote was for the statute.

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

Hatch Act Veto

By a vote of 327 to 93, the House overrode President Bush's veto of a bill (HR 20) permitting civil servants and postal workers limited involvement in partisan politics under the 51-year-old Hatch Act. But the bill died when the Senate later upheld the veto.

The bill would have given an estimated 3 million federal employees the opportunity to take part in political campaigns and causes off the job, but would have stopped short of allowing them to seek public office.

Override supporter Gerry Sikorski (D-Minn.) said a President concerned about politicized workers should "quit appointing those ambassadors who simply gave $100,000 to the Republican National Committee."

Veto supporter Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.) said: "The fact that the size of the federal work force has tripled since 1939 makes the Hatch Act even more needed today."

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

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

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