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Roll Call

The House : Catastrophic Coverage Repeal

October 12, 1989

The House voted 360 to 62 to cancel a 1988 Medicare expansion designed to protect the elderly and disabled against catastrophic hospital, doctor and prescription drug costs. The repeal was included in budget reconciliation legislation (HR 3299) later sent to the Senate.

Under the 14-month-old Catastrophic Coverage Act, Medicare beneficiaries must pay for the expanded benefits. Most of the cost falls on those with enough means to pay federal income taxes, with many of the elderly paying up to $800 annually in tax surcharges. The repeal effort answers protests from those who would finance the catastrophic coverage.

Repeal advocate J. Roy Rowland (D-Ga.) said Congress "made a mistake" in enacting the 1988 law. "Let us face it . . . let us correct this mistake completely."

Pete Stark (D-Oakland) said the House was being "stampeded by a group representing a small group of the wealthiest seniors to deny needed benefits to a majority of seniors."

Members voting yes wanted to repeal the 1988 Catastrophic Coverage Act.

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

Child-Care Legislation

By a vote of 195 to 230, the House rejected the less extensive of two proposals for expanding the federal role in providing child care. This cleared the way for approval of legislation to provide several billion dollars over five years in areas such as expanding Head Start, increasing child-care tax credits, funding state programs for children, and setting federal quality standards for child-care personnel and facilities.

Included in budget reconciliation legislation (HR 3299), the Democratic-authored program was backed by labor, education and civil rights groups. The alternative defeated by this vote was supported by President Bush and business groups. It cost less than the successful measure, did not establish federal standards, gave more emphasis to programs run by the private sector and was more beneficial to church-run programs.

Thomas E. Petri (R-Wis.) said the alternative relied on choice by parents rather than "social engineering" to achieve its objectives.

Mary Rose Oakar (D-Ohio) said she opposed the alternative because it "guts the child-care package."

Members voting yes supported a less extensive federal approach to child care.

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

Gay Rights Issue

By a vote of 262 to 154, the House endorsed a Senate effort to exempt church-related universities from the District of Columbia's gay rights law. The vote instructed House conferees on the fiscal 1990 D. C. appropriations bill (HR 3026), urging them to accept Senate language keeping Georgetown University, a Catholic institution, from being penalized for declining to accommodate gay student organizations.

Supporter Henry J. Hyde (R-Ill.) said the main issue was Georgetown's freedom to practice religion.

Opponent Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) said: "This amendment picks on a minority that is not popular" and resembles "the same kind of onslaught that we saw in Nazi Germany."

Members voting yes wanted to protect Georgetown University against D. C.'s gay rights law.

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

To Restore Fairness Doctrine

By a vote of 162 to 261, the House rejected an amendment in opposition to the "fairness doctrine." The vote preserved language in a budget reconciliation bill (HR 3299) restoring the federal requirement that broadcasters give opposing views on key issues a chance to be heard. The doctrine was repealed in 1986.

Amendment supporter Harold Rogers (R-Ky.) said: "How dare this Congress even contemplate a law which would fine broadcasters whose news coverage the government does not like."

John D. Dingell (D-Mich.) said it is "only fair that when broadcasters own that wonderful right to use that money machine which they are given by the FCC that they should use it in the public interest."

Members voting yes opposed reinstatement of the fairness doctrine.

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

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