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ROLL CALL

THE HOUSE : Balanced-Budget Amendment

August 02, 1990

By a vote of 279 to 150, the House failed to achieve the two-thirds majority needed to approve a constitutional amendment (HJR 268) requiring the federal government to balance its budget each year. Deficit spending was to have been outlawed except during wartime or if three-fifths majorities of the House and Senate voted to permit it.

Supporter Charles W. Stenholm (D-Tex.) said lawmakers lack "courage and guts" to master the deficit and therefore "we need some help, an extra tool. We need a balanced-budget amendment."

Opponent Jack Brooks (D-Tex.) said the measure "is filled with soft and fuzzy feel-good words that by themselves have no more legislative meaning than a bumper sticker that says 'Have a Nice Day."'

A yes vote supported the constitutional amendment. How They Voted:

Rep. Moorhead (R): Yea

Rep. Roybal (D): Nay

Rep. Waxman (D): Nay

Balanced-Budget Statute By a vote of 282 to 114, the House sent to the Senate a bill (HR 5258) requiring that the President and congressional budget committees draft balanced federal budgets each year showing the exact spending cuts and revenue hikes they recommend to stay out of the red. If Congress votes down the proposals, it would then pass a standard deficit-laden budget to run the government.

Democratic leaders produced the bill to counter the GOP plan (above) to balance the budget by constitutional amendment. They said it was important for balanced-budget advocates to state precisely how they would avoid a deficit. But Republicans denounced the bill as political cover for those who voted against the constitutional amendment.

A yes vote supported the Democratic bill. How They Voted:

Rep. Moorhead (R): Nay

Rep. Roybal (D): Yea

Rep. Waxman (D): Nay

To Cut Farm Spending By a vote of 202 to 216, the House refused to cut discretionary spending in a fiscal 1991 agriculture appropriations bill (HR 5268) by 2% across the board, saving $150 million. Exempted from the cut was to have been a nutritional program for poor infants and spending mandated by law. The $50.4-billion measure (HR 5268) was sent to the Senate.

Sponsor Timothy J. Penny (D-Minn.) said the "very modest" cut would help offset the bill's 11.5% increase over 1990 spending.

Opponent Jamie L. Whitten (D-Miss.) said he believes in a balanced federal budget "but not at the expense of sound and essential programs."

A yes vote supported the 2% cut. How They Voted:

Rep. Moorhead (R): Yea

Rep. Roybal (D): Nay

Rep. Waxman (D): Nay

Sugar Price Supports By a vote of 150 to 271, the House rejected an amendment to lower from 18 cents to 16 cents per pound the level at which the government props up the price of domestic sugar. Although theprogram sets an artificially high price that works its way through to consumers, it operates at small cost to the Treasury. The vote occurred as the House debated a five-year extension of federal farm programs (HR 3950).

Supporter Jim Moody (R-Wis.) said: "To vote against this amendment is to say, 'Down with the consumers, up with the handful of producers that benefit."'

Opponent Jerry Huckaby (D-La.) said "the sugar program is a consumer program (providing) stable supplies of sugar at a solid, reasonable, predictable price."

A yes vote was to lower federal price supports and thus the market price of sugar. How They Voted:

Rep. Moorhead (R): Nay

Rep. Roybal (D): Nay

Rep. Waxman (D): Yea

Farm Subsidies By a vote of 159 to 263, the House rejected a farm bill amendment to deny federal crop support payments to the nation's wealthiest farmers, those with adjusted gross incomes of $100,000 or more. The amendment would have reduced spending for loans, direct payments and other subsidies by $700 million annually. Some 20,000 individuals and 4,500 farm entities would have been denied payments under the amendment.

Supporter Bill Green (R-N.Y.) asked: "Is it such a harsh thing to ask that people who are above $100,000 a year in income come off the dole?"

Opponent Neal Smith (D-Iowa) said the purpose of farm payments is not income maintenance but to stabilize supplies and prices for consumers.

A yes vote was to end taxpayer subsidies of the nation's wealthiest farmers.

How They Voted:

Rep. Moorhead (R): Nay

Rep. Roybal (D): Nay

Rep. Waxman (D): Yea

Honey Program By a vote of 178 for and 215 against, the House rejected an amendment to phase out the federal honey program over four years. This put the House treatment of honey in the new farm bill at odds with that of the Senate, which voted (below) to end the 51-year-old loan program that guarantees profits to about 2,000 beekeepers regardless of market conditions. The program cost $385 million during the past five years.

Sponsor Silvio O. Conte (R-Mass.) called honey supports "the most ridiculous giveaway program to ever wriggle its way into the law books."

Opponent Glenn English (D-Okla.) said the honey program "has provided great benefit to not only American agriculture but the American consumer."

A yes vote was to phase out the federal subsidy of beekeepers.

How They Voted:

Rep. Moorhead (R): Nay

Rep. Roybal (D): Nay

Rep. Waxman (D): Yea

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