House members approved a legislative branch appropriations bill (HR 2348) totaling $1.79 billion for fiscal 1994, slightly below the comparable 1993 figure. Spending for House operations is up $21 million to $692 million.
In a cut that drew praise, the franked mail allow ance was reduced by nearly $8 million to $40 million. In a criticized hike, Democratic and Republican leaders secured $300,000 more for their domains, to $5.9 million.
When the Senate adds its budget to the bill, overall spending for Congress and support agencies will approximate last year's level of $2.3 billion.
Supporter David R. Obey (D-Wis.) said "members often are tempted to take advantage of lack of knowledge on the part of the public on the facts of this institution. The facts are, we have run a very tight budget for the past 10 years and we deserve some credit for it."
Opponent Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.) said: "We just passed the largest tax increase in this country's history. We're sending the American people a clear message. . .We've taken the courageous position of finding that we can cut our spending by 1%."
The vote was 224 for and 187 against. A yes vote was to pass the bill. How They Voted Rep. Horn (R): Nay Rep. Roybal-Allard (D): Yea Rep. Royce (R): Nay Rep. Torres (D): Yea Rep. Tucker (D): Yea
Benefits of Former Speakers Cut
The House amended HR 2348 (above) to end after five years taxpayer funding of the staffs and office expenses of ex-speakers of the House, saving at least $650,000 annually. The three living former speakers are Democrats Thomas P. O'Neill Jr. of Massachusetts, James Wright of Texas and Carl Albert of Oklahoma. The vote was 383 for and 36 against. A yes vote was to end public funding of former House speakers after five years.
Supporter Jennifer Dunn (R-Wash.) said "taxpayers really are outraged when they find out that former speakers of the House enjoy a virtually open-ended bank account, courtesy of the good old American taxpayers."
Opponent Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii) said "when it comes to the point of kicking the ex-speakers of the House, that's too much. I'll tell you right now, Tip O'Neill is a national treasure of this country." How They Voted Rep. Horn (R): Yea Rep. Roybal-Allard (D): Yea Rep. Royce (R): Yea Rep. Torres (D): Yea Rep. Tucker (D): Yea Source: Roll Call Report Syndicate