HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES : Defense Budget

The House gave its final approval of the Clinton Administration's first military budget, a $261-billion measure for fiscal 1994 that is down about 4% from the comparable 1993 bill. Setting post-Cold War priorities, the bill (HR 2401) reduces active-duty strength to 1.62 million troops toward a goal of 1.4 million by 1999. The bill cuts missile defense spending sharply, to $3 billion, while shifting the emphasis from space-based Star Wars defenses to ground-based interceptor systems that are portable from theater to theater. It caps the B-2 bomber program at 20 aircraft, grants a 2.2% military pay raise effective in January, 1994, and gives the force of law to Pentagon policies against openly gay conduct by service personnel. The vote was 273 for and 135 against. A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Supporter G.V. (Sonny) Montgomery (D-Miss.) said the bill "meets the minimum needs of the military while recognizing the realities of the changing world and the realities of the federal budget."

Opponent Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) said the lowered defense budget "leaves this nation with a defense plan that seriously undermines our ability to maintain a robust and effective fighting force."

How They Voted

Rep. Beilenson (D): Yea

Rep. Dixon (D): Yea

Rep. Harman (D): Yea

Rep. Waxman (D): Yea

Abortion Clinic Access

The House adopted an amendment limiting the scope of a bill (HR 796) to combat violence at abortion clinics. The underlying bill, later passed on a non-record vote, makes it a federal crime to block access to clinics or harm their patients or staff. The amendment exempts parents and legal guardians who are using normal measures to keep a minor from having an abortion. The vote was 350 for and 82 against. A yes vote was to adopt the amendment.

Sponsor Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) said parents should not be penalized by the bill "for raising their children."

Opponent Jack Brooks (D-Tex.) said that given the difficulty of instantly determining who is a parent or a minor, the amendment would impede police protection of clinics.

How They Voted

Rep. Beilenson (D): Yea

Rep. Dixon (D): Yea

Rep. Harman (D): Yea

Rep. Waxman (D): Nay

Mining Law Overhaul

The House passed a bill to revamp a law governing the mining of minerals such as gold, silver, copper, zinc and platinum on federal land in 12 western states including Alaska. The bill (HR 322) overhauls an 1872 statute that was designed to spur settlement and economic development of the West.

Under the bill, the approximately 2,000 western mining operations must begin paying royalties to the Treasury on the minerals they extract. Claim holders no longer are allowed to obtain title to the land, which they now can do at a cost of $2.50 or $5 per acre. The bill also requires environmental reclamation of scarred lands, to be financed by royalty revenue. The vote was 316 for and 108 against. A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Supporter George Miller (D-Martinez) said: "After 121 years of massive environmental damage, billions of dollars in lost revenues for taxpayers and bureaucratic chaos . . . we must all agree that the federal mining program is broke. The question is how to fix it."

Opponent Joe Skeen (R-N.M.) said the bill "overregulates a domestic industry and makes it virtually impossible for it to stay in business. If we continue to drive the ranching, mining and timber industries off public land, there will be nothing left out there. The people and the communities will go away."

How They Voted

Rep. Beilenson (D): Yea

Rep. Dixon (D): Yea

Rep. Harman (D): Yea

Rep. Waxman (D): Yea

Environmental Amendment to Mining Law

The House rejected an amendment that would have set a tougher environmental test for allowing mining on federal land. The vote occurred during debate on the above bill (HR 322) to reform the Mining Law of 1872. Under the amendment, the departments of Interior and Agriculture could have banned mining if they feared only "significant" ecological damage as opposed to "permanent and irreparable" damage as the bill specifies. The vote was 199 for and 232 against. A yes vote was to make it easier for the government to ban mining on public lands.

Amendment sponsor Peter A. DeFazio (D-Ore.) cautioned: "There are thousands of valid mining claims in or near wilderness areas, national parks, wild and scenic rivers and other sensitive areas."

Opponent Richard H. Lehman (D-North Fork) said the amendment would lead to "a broad lockup" of federal land and was unnecessary because the bill already safeguarded environmentally sensitive acreage.

How They Voted

Rep. Beilenson (D): Yea

Rep. Dixon (D): Yea

Rep. Harman (D): Yea

Rep. Waxman (D): Yea

Source: Roll Call Report Syndicate

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World
63°