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The House : Income Limit

Roll Call

April 29, 1986

Faced by a public outcry, House members reversed their decision of a day earlier and voted 333 for to 68 against to lower by $7,870 a year the amount of "earned" outside income they can receive to supplement their government salaries of $75,100.

In the earlier vote, the House--by voice vote and without debate--had raised the ceiling by the same amount, from $22,530 to $30,400, or from 30% to 40% of salary.

This supplemental income often comes in the form of speaking honorariums a lawmaker receives from special interests whose economic well-being is linked to the lawmaker's committee work. House rules distinguish it from "unearned" income such as interest and dividends, upon which there is no limit.

Lawmakers say they need the extra earned income to offset their high costs and comparatively low pay. But critics, such as Common Cause, say lawmakers often are compromised by groups that provide honorariums, and that members can always quit Congress if they don't like the pay.

The vote rescinding the earlier action also came without debate.

Members voting yes wanted to block any raise in the amount of outside earned income House members can receive.

How They Voted Yea Nay No vote Rep. Badham (R) x Rep. Dannemeyer (R) x Rep. Dornan (R) x Rep. Lungren (R) x Rep. Packard (R) x

Bubonic Plague

A bill authorizing $1 million annually in fiscal 1987-88 research aimed at controlling bubonic plague failed to achieve the two-thirds majority needed to pass. The vote was 246 for and 155 against. The Centers for Disease Control say the highly contagious disease has become increasingly prevalent among wild rodents and humans, particularly in Western states. Because the bill (HR 4392) was debated under a short-cut parliamentary rule that prohibited amendments and limited debate, a two-thirds majority was required for its passage.

Supporter Bill Richardson (D-N.M.) said "most people simply do not believe we have the plague in this country. While the plague is a relatively rare disease, it is a growing problem."

Opponent Howard C. Neilson (R-Utah) said that while the plague is a "legitimate problem," the money was not requested by the Administration.

Members voting yes wanted to spend the money for research into the bubonic plague.

How They Voted Yea Nay No vote Rep. Badham (R) x Rep. Dannemeyer (R) x Rep. Dornan (R) x Rep. Lungren (R) x Rep. Packard (R) x

Military Reserves

An amendment to increase a special fiscal 1986 authorization for the Army and Air national guards and the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps reserves from $30 million to $285 million was adopted by the House on a vote of 374 for and 35 against.

This occurred as the House passed and sent to the Senate a bill (HR 4420) designed to get a handle on runaway armed forces pension costs.

The additional $255 million approved by this amendment was earmarked for items unrelated to pensions. It slightly offsets the $5.6 billion expected to be saved through 1991 by military pension reform.

Sponsor G.V. (Sonny) Montgomery (D-Miss.) said the $285 million consists of "basic funds that will go to your armories back home, they will go to your municipal airports, there will be simulators . . . safety devices."

Opponent Les Aspin (D-Wis.) said, "What we are doing here in effect is saying that the guard and reserve should be exempt from the Gramm-Rudman cuts."

Members voting yes wanted to spend an additional $255 million on the guard and reserve this fiscal year.

How They Voted Yea Nay No vote Rep. Badham (R) x Rep. Dannemeyer (R) x Rep. Dornan (R) x Rep. Lungren (R) x Rep. Packard (R) x

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