House Drops Riders, OKs Treasury Bill: Democracts Win `Three out of Four'
Godfrey, John, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)
The House voted 290-137 last night to pass legislation appropriating $13 billion for the Treasury Department and Postal Service.
The measure, which also funds White House operations, the Federal Election Commission and the National Labor Relations Board, was approved with little Democratic support after Republicans dropped three provisions that stalled the legislation last week.
These provisions would have limited the director and general counsel of the Federal Election Commission to four-year terms, required federal employee health care plans to provide contraceptives to plan beneficiaries and given immigration amnesty to up to 40,000 Haitian refugees.
Combined Democratic and Republican opposition to these amendments last week killed a House-Senate agreement on the bill before it could be brought to the House floor.
"We lose; they lose," Rep. Jim Kolbe, Arizona Republican, said of dropping all the provisions. Mr. Kolbe, who was in charge of the bill in the House, said Republicans backed the measure because they "realize there is no other way to pass this thing."
Democrats opposed the FEC provision because they saw it as an attempt to unseat FEC General Counsel Lawrence Noble. Mr. Noble is unpopular with Republicans because of his investigations of "soft-money" contributions.
Conservative Republicans opposed requiring health care plans to provide contraceptives to federal employees. They contend that some contraceptives induce abortions and that federal money, even in the form of employee benefits, should not fund them.
A bipartisan group opposed granting Haitians the same amnesty as Cubans and Nicaraguans, allowing them to remain in the United States even though they were not legal immigrants. …