House Takes Ax to Humanities, Arts Endowments Cuts Also Ok'd for Land Management

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The House approved deep cuts in federal cultural and land management programs Tuesday as Congress labored on Republican spending bills that sliced everything from artists' grants to the White House budget.

By a 244-181 vote that fell largely along party lines, the House approved a $12 billion measure for the Interior Department and cultural programs that would cut 40 percent from the budgets of the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

That would leave the two agencies, often targeted by conservatives, with $99.5 million each for 1996.

The measure, approved after four days of debate, would also trim spending for national parks, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the monitoring of endangered species and many services for Indians. It would continue the 14-year prohibition against offshore oil and gas drilling in many coastal areas and, in a reversal of a committee vote, maintain a ban against low-priced government sales of mining claims on federal land.

With the Oct. 1 start of the new fiscal year looming ever closer, that was just part of lawmakers' work. In other business:

The House debated another bill cutting $41 million from the White House budget.

The House Appropriations Committee approved a $79.7 billion bill trimming space, housing and environmental programs but rescuing the Selective Service System.

A Senate panel approved $200 million in cuts in Congress' own functions.

Outnumbered Democrats complained that many cuts went too far, harming culture, national parks, scientific research and the environment. The said that the Republicans, in the case of the White House cuts, were playing politics.

"We've cut the White House office significantly enough to adversely affect the ability of the White House to run its shop," said Rep. …