HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Downsized Defense Budget

The House approved the Clinton Administration's first military budget (HR 2401) by a vote of 268 to 162. The $262.8-billion, post-Cold War measure spends 4% less than the comparable bill of a year ago. It cuts missile funds by 25% to $3 billion, shifting from a space-based "Star Wars" priority to the development of interceptor missiles such as the Patriot, which can be deployed in war theaters around the globe. It lowers active-duty strength by 108,000 troops to 1.62 million, provides $979 million for the former Soviet Union, awards a 2.2% military pay hike in January and provides $6 billion to help defense-dependent communities, workers and companies convert to a civilian economy.

"We have turned a magnificent corner" in adapting military spending to a post-Soviet world, supporter Ronald V. Dellums (D-Oakland) said, but he added that there is more to do.

Opponent Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.) said defense spending should be cut even deeper given the demise of the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact countries.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

How They Voted:

Rep. Becerra (D): Yea

Rep. Moorhead (R): Nay

Extension of U.S. Troops in Somalia

The House called upon President Clinton to obtain congressional approval if he wants to keep U.S. troops in Somalia after Nov. 15 in a United Nations peacekeeping force. The amendment was added to HR 2401 (above). Several thousand GIs remain in Somalia under U.N. command, down from last year's peak deployment of 25,000 on a mission to ease mass starvation.

Supporter Lee H. Hamilton (D-Ind.) said: "Our goal should be to reduce and to eliminate the United States military presence in Somalia as soon as possible."

Opponent Dan Burton (R-Ind.) said the measure was weak in that it lacked a deadline for bringing U.S. troops home.

The vote was 406 for and 26 against. A yes vote was to require congressional approval of any U.S. troop deployment in Somalia after Nov. 15.

How They Voted:

Rep. Becerra (D): Yea

Rep. Moorhead (R): Yea

Restrictions on Gays in the Military

The House acted to write restrictive language on gays in the military into HR 2401 (above). The language goes beyond the "don't ask, don't tell, don't pursue" policy sought by President Clinton. But it stops short of requiring recruits to be asked about their sexual preference. It permits the discharging of gays who engage in or attempt to engage in homosexual acts.

Sponsor Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) said: "There is no constitutional right to serve in the armed forces. The primary purpose of our armed forces is to prepare for and prevail in combat."

Opponent John Lewis (D-Ga.) said: "Gays and lesbians are citizens like all other Americans and deserve the same rights as all other Americans. That includes the right to serve their country."

The vote was 301 for and 134 against. A yes vote was to write into law traditional Pentagon restrictions on gays in the military.

How They Voted:

Rep. Becerra (D): Nay

Rep. Moorhead (R): Yea

Control of U.S. Troops on U.N. Missions

The House rejected a motion to limit the deployment of U.S. forces under United Nations command. The Republican amendment to HR 2401 (above) sought to require the President to certify to Congress that any such future deployments are in the national interest.

Supporter Henry J. Hyde (R-Ill.) said: "That whirring sound you hear are American military dead turning over in their graves at the prospect of command of their forces being turned over to the U.N. in whose Security Council now sits the Cape Verde Islands, for example. The President has an obligation to certify. . . . It safeguards the command and control of our troops."

Opponent Ronald V. Dellums (D-Oakland) said: "In the post-Cold War world we must move forward and understand the need to work in these (U.N.) coalition efforts. To proclaim as national policy we will not do so, we send an extraordinarily negative message to the world at a time when we ought to be moving in coalition efforts to bring sanity and peace to the world."

The vote was 192 for and 238 against. A yes vote supported the certification requirement.

How They Voted:

Rep. Becerra (D): Nay

Rep. Moorhead (R): Yea

Source: Roll Call Report Syndicate

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