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Roll Call

The House : Superfund Financing

December 22, 1985

An amendment requiring oil and chemical companies to pay the brunt of the $10-billion cost of a five-year, toxic waste cleanup under the federal Superfund program was adopted by the house on a vote of 220 for and 206 against.

In shifting the Superfund financial burden to the petrochemical industry, the amendment canceled a plan to fund the program by means of a new, broad-based tax on manufactured goods. Supporters called this an excise tax and opponents called it a value-added or national sales tax.

The vote occurred as the House passed and sent to the Senate a Superfund renewal bill (HR 2817) that toughens the lagging federal attack on toxic dumps. Cleanup must begin at 125 sites by 1987 and 600 sites by 1990.

About $1.5 billion in Superfund money has been spent since 1980, resulting in completed clean-ups at fewer than 10 of the nation's more than 1,000 acutely toxic landfills.

Sponsor Thomas Downey (D-N.Y.) said the Superfund cleanup should be funded by the oil and chemical companies "who are responsible for the waste."

Opponent Henson Moore (R-La.) said petrochemical companies are responsible for "only 15% of the pollution found at toxic waste sites."

Members voting yes wanted to finance the Superfund with a tax on petrochemical companies rather than a broad-based manufacturing tax.

How They Voted Yea Nay No vote Rep. Anderson (D) x Rep. Dixon (D) x Rep. Dymally (D) x Rep. Fiedler (R) x Rep. Levine (D) x Rep. Lungren (R) x

Emissions Reporting

An amendment requiring businesses of all types to publicly report routine chemical emissions that pose long- as well as short-term health risks has been adopted by the House on a vote of 212 for and 211 against.

This greatly broadened a provison in the Superfund legislation (above) requiring the public to be informed of the location and any emission of about 400 extremely toxic chemicals.

Sponsor Bob Edgar (D-Pa.) said the public deserves to know about "thousands if not millions of extremely toxic chemicals (that) are released into the air, water and ground each year which have a tragic long-term effect on the people who live nearby."

Opponent John Dingell (D-Mich.) predicted that the amendment would require disclosure down to the level of the neighborhood hairdresser and said, "If you want to outrage your constituents by imposing massive servitudes on them . . . endorse this amendment."

Members voting yes supported the amendment.

How They Voted Yea Nay No vote Rep. Anderson (D) x Rep. Dixon (D) x Rep. Dymally (D) x Rep. Fiedler (R) x Rep. Levine (D) x Rep. Lungren (R) x

Balanced Budget

By a vote of 271 for and 154 against, the House passed and sent to President Reagan a drastic fiscal reform measure that forces Congress and the Administration to balance the federal budget by 1991. The annual deficit, estimated this fiscal year at $200 billion, will have to be lowered by Congress in roughly equal across-the-board amounts over the next five years to zero by fiscal 1991.

If Congress fails to meet an annual austerity target, the president is required to make the necessary reductions.

The cuts are to fall equally on military and non-military programs, with only Social Security, interest on the national debt, and a handful of programs for veterans and the poor exempted from the forced retrenchment.

The so-called Gramm-Rudman-Hollings measure was enacted as part of legislation (HJ Res 372) raising the national debt ceiling from $1.824 trillion to $2.079 trillion.

Its supporters argued that medicine as strong as mandatory cuts is needed to control federal spending, given of Congress' proven inability to voluntarily balance the budget.

Opponents called the legislation unconstitutional because it injects presidential decision-making into Congress' exclusive authority to appropriate funds.

Members voting yes supported Gramm-Rudman-Hollings.

How They Voted Yea Nay No vote Rep. Anderson (D) x Rep. Dixon (D) x Rep. Dymally (D) x Rep. Fiedler (R) x Rep. Levine (D) x Rep. Lungren (R) x

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