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HOUSE VOTES TO END AMERICORPS FUNDING.

Byline: The New York Times

The House of Representatives voted Wednesday evening to eliminate all spending on President Clinton's national service program, AmeriCorps, and to use the money for veterans' programs and to help reduce the federal debt.

The action was approved by a voice vote on an amendment to the proposed $84.3 billion spending bill for 1997 for the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and various independent agencies.

AmeriCorps has been a political football since its inception; the Republican-controlled Congress tried and failed several times last year to eliminate the program. In private, even some of the program's most ardent opponents conceded Wednesday night that it is unlikely that they would succeed this year.

A voice vote does not put lawmakers under the kind of political pressure that a recorded vote does, so Wednesday night's vote was not a true test of the future of AmeriCorps. Still, it shows that Republicans have not given up on their efforts to kill a program that they criticize as wasteful and duplicative.

But the latest attempt to eliminate the program is expected to be quashed in the Senate. If not, Clinton most assuredly will use his veto powers to stave off any attempt to kill one of his pet projects.

``The president has not lost one iota of enthusiasm for national service, so we are obviously troubled by today's voice vote,'' said Lawrence J. Haas, the spokesman for the White House Office of Management and Budget. ``But we are focusing more on the recorded vote to retain AmeriCorps, and we will work as hard as we need to retain healthy funding for the program through the legislative process.''

The vote on AmeriCorps came as the House worked to complete the veterans and housing spending bill and to send it to the Senate, which will take it up next month after the Fourth of July recess.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jun 27, 1996
Words:320
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