Rep. Joseph Fisher (D-Arlington) will be reintroducing legislation permitting federal employees to engage in political activity in state and local elections, while maintaining a ban on such activity in federal elections.
Under the present Hatch Act, all federal employees may express political opinions as private citizens but may not engage in political campaigns.
Fisher's bill would permit federal employees to run for partime state or local offices and to campaign for others running for state and local office. It would, however, prohibit federal employees from holding office in a party organization.
Fisher said his bill would considerably broaden the opportunities for political activity by federal workers. "I believe that my bill is a balanced proposal to permit federal employees to take maximum part in the political life of this country without exposing them to the political pressures of the job."
Fisher has invited all the members of the House to cosponsor the bill with him, and will be testifying on the matter before a special commission investigating such practices.
Rep. Herbert Harris (D-Alexandria) has invited House members to cosponsor a bill that would freeze the salaries of representatives and senators "until strong comprehensive ethics are enacted."
Harris' bill asks for full financial disclosure, restrictions on all outside incomes and removal of all conflicts of interest for congressmen before the automatic pay raise can go into effect.
Under current federal law, members will receive an automatic raise from $44,600 to $57,500 on Feb. 20.
Rep. Harris has been appointed to serve on the House Judiciary Committee as a result of a rule change allowing some members to serve on three standing committees instead of two.
Harris also sits on the D.C. Committee and the Post Office and Civil Service Committee.
Sen. William Scott (RVa.) introduced legislation this week that would provide a tax credit for expeditures for energy conservation in heating and cooling homes.
The measure would allow a credit up to $100 based for expenditures of $500 or more for energy saving equipment, material and lavor costs for installation.
Scott said that this bill is "a reasonable course of action to take in an effort to save fuel and to hold down energy costs for the consumer."
Notes: Rep. Harris has scheduled his first "Town Metting" this year for Sun., Feb. 20, at 7:30 p.m. The meeting, at Alexandria City Hall, 125 N. Royal St., is open to all Harris' constituents who would like to meet their congressman or express their views on particular issues.
Rep. Fisher's comment to administration officials testifying before the House Budget and Ways and Means Committees on President's Carter economic stimulation program; "Pretty good. You've brought your horse out of the starting age fast but under good control."
Votes of area members of Congress on key roll calls for the week ending Feb. 4: HOUSE
Emergency Natural Gas Bill. The new Democratic learn of President Carter and the 95th Congress proved they could work together smoothly - and quickly - taking only six days to pass a bill giving the President emergency powers to combal the natural gas crisis.
The measure, which the House passed 336-82, empowered the President to order interstate natural gas sent wherever he decided it was most needed. It also authorized him to permit emergency sales of natural gas to interstate buyers at unregulated prices, a departure from present federal price control policies. Both powers would expire within set time limits. The Senate passed the same bill by voice vote.
Opponents of the emergency measure argued that the bill does not go far enough in easing the crisis because it would not increase gas supplies or ensure that shutdown factories could be reopened. Some also insisted [WORDS ILLEGIBLE] gas to federal control for the first time.
Proponents said that the bill was designed to ensure only that gas customers such as homes and hospitals would not run out of fuel for heat. They said no emergency bill could produce new gas or end factory shutdowns. Thye also insisted that the bill did not affect intrastate gas supplies. Finally, they argued that the crisis demanded a quick federal response and that delay would prolong suffering.
Voling for emergency natural gas bill VIRGINIA - Butter (R), Daniel (R), Diel (D), Harris (D), Robinson (R), Satterfield (D), Trible (R), Wampler (R), Whitehurst (R).
Assassinations investigation. A controversial House committee received a temporary extension to continue its investigations into the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Marlin Luther King. By a 237-164 vote, the House decided to fund the committee until the end of March, when it again report to the House and request full reconstitution and a full budget. The select committee was established last September.
Supporters of extending the committee argued that the investigations are needed to restore public confidence in the government. They cited public opinion polls which show that most Americans do not believe that Lee Harvey Oswald and James Eart Ray acted alone as officially concluded. They supported this interim reconstitution as a vehicle for reorganizing the committee, structuring its investigation and justifying its likely severly-million-dollar budget request.
Opponents of continuing the committee contended that there was no value in dredging up the tragedies of the past and expressed concern that the committee might become a seedbed of unwarranted attack on the FBI and the CIA. Some members also objected to the sizable budget projected for the committee and opposed sustaining the inquiry for two months because that might lead to the more expensive appropriation later. Others voted against the temporary reconstitution because they favored an immediate full reconstitution of the committee.
Voting to continue the assassination investigation: VIRGINIA - Butter (R), Daniel (R), Daniel (D), Robinson (R), Satterfield (D), Wampler (R), Whilehurst (R). SENATE
Congressional Pay Ralse. The Senate voted 56-42 to table (kid) a resolution that would have blocked a pay raise for members of Congress, federal judges and toplevel executive branch officials. The raises were proposed by President Ford on Jan. 17 and are scheduled to take effect Feb. 20 unless vetoed by either house of Congress. The proposal would increase the pay for members of Congress to $57,500 from $44,000 and provide increases for about 2,000 other federal officials as well.
Backers of the pay raise pointed out that members of Congress and other top federal officials had had only one pay raise - five per cent - since 1969 and that the cost of living had increased by more than 60 per cent since then. They argued that a failure to increase salaries would prevent many talented people from entering government service.
Opponents of the raise argued that it would be unwise for Congress to increase its won pay during a time of economic difficulty and at a time when many senators were committed to reduced government spending.
Voting to table (kill) resolution disapproving pay raise: VIRGINIA - Scott (R).
Voting not to table resolution disapproving pay raise: VIRGINIA - Byrd (Ind.).