HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES : Loosening of Hatch Act Restrictions

The House sent President Clinton a bill (HR 20) softening the 1939 Hatch Act to allow 3 million U.S. civil servants and postal workers to engage in most areas of partisan politics on their owntime. Some 85,000 other employees, mostly in law enforcement, will remain "hatched."

Supporter Andrew Jacobs Jr. (D-Ind.) said: "Right now, federal employees are second-class citizens, not fully participating in the system by which we make our final choices in this country."

Opponent Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.) said: "This bill will politicize the federal work force" and subject some workers to on-the-job reprisal. "And I believe we will see a scandal coming very soon...."

The vote was 339 for and 85 against. A yes vote was to loosen the Hatch Act.

How They Voted

Rep. Cox (R): Nay

Rep. Dornan (R): Nay

Rep. Kim (R): Yea

Rep. Packard (R): Nay

Rep. Rohrabacher (R): Nay

Rep. Royce (R): Nay

Funding for Interstate Commerce Commission

The House defeated an amendment to abolish the Interstate Commerce Commission by eliminating its $45-million budget from a 1994 appropriations bill (HR 2750). Established in 1887, the ICCis the oldest independent regulatory agency. The amendment sought to transfer its essential regulatory functions over surface transportation to the Department of Transportation. Sponsor Gary A. Condit (D-Ceres) said: "Let's take a step today toward reinventing government. If we can't take this tiny step, we're going to have a hard time taking the steps that we need to take to really reinvent government."

Opponent Al Swift (D-Wash.) said the amendment would "make the regulation of surface transportation a high-speed game of chicken" because it failed to specify what would replace the ICC.

The vote was 207 for and 222 against. A yes vote was to abolish the Interstate Commerce Commission.

How They Voted

Rep. Cox (R): Yea

Rep. Dornan (R): Yea

Rep. Kim (R): Nay

Rep. Packard (R): Yea

Rep. Rohrabacher (R): Yea

Rep. Royce (R): Yea

Attempt to Cut Amtrak Subsidy

The House rejected, 84 to 337, an amendment to strip HR 2750 (above) of its $331-million annual operating subsidy for Amtrak, the rail passenger agency that is partly supported by taxpayers.The amendment sought to force Amtrak into the private sector.

Sponsor Joel Hefley (R-Colo.) said: "The purpose of the amendment is to begin to put Amtrak back on the track to privatization and, hopefully, profitability."

Opponent James A. Traficant Jr. (D-Ohio) said the amendment "would kill all rail passenger service in our country," particularly harming smaller communities.

A yes vote was to eliminate the Amtrak subsidy.

How They Voted

Rep. Cox (R): Yea

Rep. Dornan (R): Yea

Rep. Kim (R): Yea

Rep. Packard (R): Yea

Rep. Rohrabacher (R): Yea

Rep. Royce (R): Yea

Source: Roll Call Report Syndicate

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