By a vote of 230 for and 154 against, the House accepted the Senate version of a $25-billion deficit-reduction measure, ending several months of dispute over the so-called "reconciliation bill" (HR 3128) and clearing it for President Reagan's signature.
Under the fiscal 1986 budget blueprint set last year by the House and Senate, the committees of Congress were required to achieve savings of up to $74 billion over three years, largely by rewriting a host of federal laws. The final product approved by this vote uses $19 billion in spending cuts and $6 billion in revenue hikes during fiscal 1986-88 to reach the $25-billion figure.
Among its most disputed provisions, the bill sets new terms for distributing lucrative offshore oil royalties between the federal government and certain coastal states, denies federal workers more attractive health benefits, changes the tobacco price-support program in a way that reportedly pleases both farmers and cigarette manufacturers, and makes permanent the 16-cent-a-pack U.S. tax on cigarettes.
The House had wanted to require all states to extend basic welfare benefits (Aid to Families with Dependent Children) to certain two-parent families in which the main wage-earner is jobless. But the Senate prevailed with its proposal to continue giving states an option on whether to qualify such families for welfare.