The controversial Humphrey-Hawkins "full employemnt" bill won its first key test in Congress yesterday - approval by the full House Education and Labor Committee, with prospects for consideration on the House floor around March 1.
The measure was approved intact after several unsuccessful attempts by panel Republicans to tack on provisions that would have established a nationwide anti-inflation goal to accompany the measure's target for reducing unemployment.
Republican leaders said they plan to revive their proposal when the bill reaches the House floor next month, but their prospects seemed uncertain. The version approved by the committee yesterday is backed by the administration and key Democrats.
The measure would set a nationwide goal of reducing the unemployment rate to 4 per cent by 1983 and would commit the government symbolically to aim for that target. The bill originally was proposed by the late Sen. Hubert Humphrey (D-Minn.) and Rep. Augustus Hawkins (D-Calif.).
Although the bill has been diluted sharply from its earlier version, critics still maintain that the goal it would set is unrealistic. However, the meausre is supported by a broad coalition of liberals, blacks and labor groups. Most observers believe it will pass as a memorial to Humphrey.
Yesterday's votes on the GOP amendments went largely along party lines. Carter administration officials and sponsors of the measure have opposed including anit-inflation goals, on grounds that "no amount of inflation" really should be acceptable.
The legislation swept through the full committee on a voice vote. Hawkins, who is chief sponsor of the measure in the House, is chairman of the Education and Labor subcommittee that drafted the latest version of the bill. The Senate is working in a similar measure.