WASHINGTON — Heavy-handed lobbying by defense contractors may have backfired and cost the Reagan Administration its top budget priority, a 3% after-inflation increase in defense spending, Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole (R-Kan.) said Thursday.
"We made the best effort we could," he said of last week's 51-48 Senate vote rejecting any increase in Pentagon spending. "I think we could have won, but there were overeager phone calls made by some that cost us a couple of votes."
The Senate vote to freeze fiscal 1986 defense spending to the 1985 level plus about 4% inflation was incorporated Thursday in a revised GOP compromise that won President Reagan's support. It is unlikely that the Democratic-controlled House will be any more generous with the Pentagon.
Declines to Be Specific
Dole refused to specify whose votes he lost as a result of the lobbying by defense contractors, who reportedly had been asked by Senate Armed Services Committee staff members to put pressure on senators representing states with large defense facilities.