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Roll Call

The House : Saudi Arms Sales

May 18, 1986

A resolution (HJ Res 589) blocking the Administration's planned $354-million sale of missiles to Saudi Arabia was approved by the House on a vote of 356 for and 62 against. This followed an equally emphatic Senate vote against the sale, and it sent the measure to President Reagan for his promised veto. Sale foes said the wide congressional margins of disapproval indicate that a presidential veto would fail, making this the first major arms sale ever thwarted by Congress.

The transaction calls for the Saudis to pay cash for 1,700 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles, 100 Harpoon anti-ship missiles and 800 Stingers, a shoulder-mounted surface-to-air missile system.

Members who supported the resolution of disapproval said sending more arms to the Middle East would destabilize the region, and that the portable Stinger could be used by terrorists. They criticized Saudi Arabia as a fickle ally that condemned the recent American attack on Libya.

Opponents said the resolution undercut President Reagan and was a slap at a vital U.S. ally in the world's most volatile area. They argued that Saudi Arabia needs to be strengthened militarily now that Iran is winning its war against Iraq and becoming more menacing to moderate Arab states in the Persian Gulf.

Members voting yes wanted to block the Saudi arms sale.

How They Voted Yea Nay No vote Rep. Anderson (D) x Rep. Dornan (R) x Rep. Dreier (R) x Rep. Dymally (D) x Rep. Hawkins (D) x Rep. Martinez (D) x Rep. Torres (D) x

Federal Spending

A bill (HR 4515) to increase federal spending by $1.7 billion during the current fiscal year was passed by the House and sent to the Senate on a vote of 242 for and 132 against. This extra appropriations bill supplements regular fiscal 1986 spending bills that already are law.

As is usually the case with so-called "urgent supplemental" bills, this one benefited scores of narrow-interest programs throughout the government. Supporters said it funded many vital programs, while Minority Leader Robert H. Michel (R-Ill.) recently characterized it as a "great, bursting barrel of rancid pork."

In part, the fiscal 1986 measure provides $50 million in economic aid to Northern Ireland, $702 million for upgrading security at U.S. facilities abroad, $363 million for Veterans Administration benefit programs, $330 million for disaster relief, $340 million to the Internal Revenue Service, $35.5 million for the Coast Guard, $71.6 million for salaries and expenses of the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service, $14.5 million for the Board of International Broadcasting and $20 million for the Women, Infants, Children nutrition program.

Members voting yes supported the $1.7-billion spending bill.

How They Voted Yea Nay No vote Rep. Anderson (D) x Rep. Dornan (R) x Rep. Dreier (R) x Rep. Dymally (D) x Rep. Hawkins (D) x Rep. Martinez (D) x Rep. Torres (D) x

'Deferral' Authority

An amendment to retain the "deferral" authority by which a President can decline to spend appropriated funds in a given fiscal year was rejected by the House on a vote of 163 for and 224 against. President Reagan and most Republicans favored the amendment, while most Democrats opposed it. The vote left intact language in the fiscal 1986 supplemental appropriations bill (HR 4515, above) to prevent Reagan from executing certain deferrals this year.

Reagan has deferred a total of $5.3 billion, including $500 million for community block grants to cities, $2.7 billion for low-income housing and $600 million for housing the handicapped and the elderly.

Under a 1974 law designed to keep presidents from illegally impounding, or refusing to spend, money approved by Congress, a presidential deferral could have been overridden by either the House or Senate.

In 1983, however, the U.S. Supreme Court declared one-house vetoes unconstitutional. Critics say that decision has tilted the delicately balanced 1974 anti-impoundment toward the White House, giving presidents too much power to thwart the spending prerogatives of the legislative branch.

Members voting no wanted Reagan to release the $5.3 billion in fiscal 1986 appropriations he is refusing to spend.

How They Voted Yea Nay No vote Rep. Anderson (D) x Rep. Dornan (R) x Rep. Dreier (R) x Rep. Dymally (D) x Rep. Hawkins (D) x Rep. Martinez (D) x Rep. Torres (D) x

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