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Dymally Sees Trouble for MX Project

February 14, 1985|BOB WILLIAMS | Times Staff Writer

HAWTHORNE — The B-1 bomber program will survive congressional attempts to reduce the federal deficit, but the MX missile may be in serious trouble, Rep. Mervyn M. Dymally (D-Compton) predicted at a breakfast meeting with local reporters this week.

The B-1's backers include such liberals as Sen. Alan Cranston and former Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr., so "it is now fashionable" to support continued production of the aircraft, said Dymally in pointing out his own support for the B-1.

Dymally's view of the bomber's position is not shared by some congressional leaders from other states, who have suggested that the B-1 may have to be eliminated in the effort to trim defense spending.

Rockwell International, which has a major facility in El Segundo, is the prime contractor on the B-1. The Northrop Corp., a prime contractor on the MX, reportedly has done extensive development work on the secret missile at its Hawthorne plant.

Doubts Over Program

Dymally said the MX missile's difficulties in Congress stem from philosophical and practical doubts over the wisdom of proceeding with a new weapons system. He said he shares some of those doubts, which presents him with a "very personal dilemma--a matter of conscience versus (the needs of) the district."

The 31st District congressman told reporters at the meeting in the Cockatoo Inn that further reflection and consultations with representatives of both sides of the MX issue will be needed before he reaches a conclusion.

In the press conference, Dymally ranged over a number of domestic and foreign issues and assured the reporters that despite the more conservative mood of the country, "the Democratic Party is not dead." He said the party could recapture control of the Congress in the 1986 elections by adopting the "merchandising techniques" that Republicans have used to "sell their ideas."

Asked about Jesse Jackson's current feud with party leaders, Dymally said he sympathizea with Jackson's demands for greater black representation in the party leadership, but cautioned against allowing disputes to split the party.

Jackson, whose candidate for a top spot on the Democratic National Committee was rejected by party leaders, said earlier this week that his Rainbow Coalition is reassessing its relationship with the national party. He hinted that blacks might walk out and form their own party.

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