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Two O.C. Congressmen Win Legislative Victories

March 18, 1994|GEBE MARTINEZ | TIMES POLITICAL WRITER

Two Orange County congressmen claimed victories Thursday when House and Senate committees approved two separate bills aimed at imposing the death penalty in spy cases and reforming the federal budget process.

In the wake of the recent arrest of CIA employee Aldrich H. Ames as an alleged spy for the former Soviet Union and Russia, the House Judiciary Committee approved an amendment drafted by Rep. Robert K. Dornan (R-Garden Grove) calling for the death penalty for espionage that results in the death of an individual acting on behalf of the United States.

The amendment, approved by a voice vote, was offered on behalf of Dornan by Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.), a member of the Judiciary Committee. The legislation will be included as part of a comprehensive crime bill to be considered by the House.

Dornan, a member of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, said the Ames case demonstrated the need for the legislation since it is now suspected that as many as 10 Soviet citizens may have been executed as the result of disclosures allegedly made by Ames.

In an unrelated matter, Rep. Christopher Cox (R-Newport Beach) won the Senate Budget Committee's approval of a resolution aimed at reforming the federal budget process.

The motion by Sen. Don Nickles (R-Okla.)--identical to Cox's resolution adopted last week in the House--calls for an end to "baseline budgeting."

Under current budgeting practice, a spending increase that is scaled back is considered a "cut." Cox said the President should submit a budget that compares the proposed spending levels for the next year with the current year.

Cox, a member of the House Budget Committee, said that under the current rules, Congress claimed in 1990 and 1993 to be cutting a total of $1 trillion when the actual spending will probably go up by more than twice that.

"This is a victory for integrity and common sense," Cox said. "We should recognize increases in spending for what they are."

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