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Roll Call

The House : Amusement Park Safety

December 01, 1985

By a vote of 264 for and 146 against, the House failed to achieve the two-thirds majority needed to pass a bill extending the life of the Consumer Product Safety Commission and giving the agency regulatory power over amusement parks. The two-thirds majority was required because the bill (HR 3456) was considered under a short-cut procedure limiting debate and preventing amendments. Sponsors will bring the bill back to the floor under normal parliamentary rules.

Most opposition was aimed at the provision giving the commission authority to inspect amusement park rides and probe accidents at parks where there is inadequate state regulation.

Supporter Henry Waxman (D-Los Angeles) said the provision "closes a dangerous loophole in federal consumer safety law."

Opponent William Dannemeyer (R-Fullerton) said it demonstrates the "liberal welfare state" rule that "if it moves, regulate it."

Members voting yes wanted to extend the life of the Consumer Product Safety Commission and give it regulatory authority over amusement parks.

How They Voted Yea Nay No vote Rep. Dreier (R) x Rep. Martinez (D) x Rep. Moorhead (R) x Rep. Roybal (D) x Rep. Torres (D) x

Plant Closings

The House defeated, 203 for and 208 against, a bill (HR 1616) designed to cushion the blow on workers and the community when a plant closes or orders a massive layoff, by requiring employers to give at least 90 days notice of their plans. This was a defeat for organized labor, which had made the bill a top legislative priority during the 99th Congress, and a victory for business groups such as the National Assn. of Manufacturers.

Supporters said the legislation would, at best, enable workers to develop alternative uses for the closed facility and, at least, permit them to prepare for economic hardship.

Opponents called the bill undue meddling by government in the free enterprise system, saying its main effect was to make it difficult for companies to adjust to changing market conditions and remedy money-losing situations.

Members voting yes favored the plant-closing legislation.

How They Voted Yea Nay No vote Rep. Dreier (R) x Rep. Martinez (D) x Rep. Moorhead (R) x Rep. Roybal (D) x Rep. Torres (D) x

Joint Chiefs of Staff

The House passed, 383 for and 27 against, and sent to the Senate a bill (HR 3622) restructuring the Joint Chiefs of Staff to give more power to its chairman at the expense of its other members. The Joint Chiefs of Staff consists of the heads of the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines and a chairman drawn from one of the services. Each member has an equal voice in recommending battlefield actions and overall military policy to the president, secretary of defense and National Security Council.

Supporters of the bill said that putting the chairman clearly in charge would lessen the inter-service rivalries and trade-offs that now encumber the Joint Chiefs and undermine national security.

Under the bill, the chairman could communicate on his own to his civilian superiors as well as to field commanders under him.

Supporter William Whitehurst (R-Va.) said the present system "stifles imaginative military thought, depriving the President . . . of the fruits of the best military minds that can be assembled."

Charles Bennett (D-Fla.) said the bill "clearly reduces the opportunities of the secretary of defense and the President to choose among different military solutions and strategies."

Members voting yes favored restructuring the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

How They Voted Yea Nay No vote Rep. Dreier (R) x Rep. Martinez (D) x Rep. Moorhead (R) x Rep. Roybal (D) x Rep. Torres (D) x

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