Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.) clashed with the Reagan administration over pay cuts for civil service employes.
Rep. Stan Parris (R-Va.) opposed administration efforts to cut mass transit subsidies and Amtrak funds.
But during most of the first seven months of this year, the two Northern Virginia Republicans remained loyal supporters of the Reagan administration, backing the president on a wide array of issues, ranging from the development of lethal chemical weapons to aid for Nicaraguan rebels.
Likewise, Virginia's Republican senators, John W. Warner and Paul S. Trible, occasionally parted company with the administration, most notably over the issue of economic sanctions against South Africa's policy of racial discrimination. But on most issues that the Senate faced before its August recess, the two also were firmly in the Reagan camp.
On the issue of South Africa, Warner and Trible voted for immediate economic sanctions, although the White House opposed such penalties.
In the House, Wolf and Parris voted in June against immediate economic sanctions. They instead supported an unsuccessful attempt to establish a three-year commission to study the apartheid issue and another attempt to delay any penalties against South Africa for two years.
But on Aug. 1, Wolf and Parris voted for a House-Senate compromise calling for immediate economic sanctions.
A Wolf spokeswoman said that the congressman changed his mind because of the South African government's decision in July to declare a state of emergency and the worsening violence and political unrest there. "He felt it was an important time for Congress to make a moral statement," she said.
She also said Wolf was more comfortable with the House-Senate conference report, because a House provision banning new U.S. investments in South Africa had been dropped.
The compromise measure still includes a ban on the importation of krugerrands or South African gold coins, and restricts the sale of computer goods and nuclear materials to South Africa. The Senate is scheduled to take up the conference report when it returns from its August recess on Sept. 9.
Warner, Trible, Wolf and Parris backed the Reagan administration's push for congressional approval to begin production of a new type of lethal chemical weapon. Warner, a senior Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, helped lead the Senate fight for the controversial chemical weapons.
Critics called resumption of nerve gas production repugnant, costly and unnecessary, because the United States already has a chemical stockpile.
Warner responded that the U.S. stockpile is outdated compared to the Soviets' supply, putting America and its allies at a dangerous disadvantage.
Warner also led the fight to protect President Reagan's antimissile defense program or Strategic Defense Initiative, known as "Star Wars."
During the Senate floor fight, critics argued that the program was a costly and dangerous fantasy that would escalate the arms race. Warner responded that cutting the program would hurt arms control talks in Geneva.
Trible voted against attempts to cut antimissile defenses. In the House, Wolf and Parris opposed attempts to cut the program, but also voted against a proposal to significantly increase antimissile defense funding.
Warner, Trible, Parris and Wolf all supported administration efforts to get humanitarian aid to the Nicaraguan rebels.
But both Parris and Wolf supported a ban on any armed intervention by U.S. combat troops without congressional approval unless American lives or territory are threatened.
The four area legislators also backed elimination of the so-called Clark amendment, which had restricted covert aid to factions fighting in Angola. The amendment had stopped CIA efforts to aid rightist guerrilas, and was criticized by the Reagan administration.
On gun control, Warner and Trible voted for a measure to revise and weaken gun control laws, an effort backed by the administration. The House has not yet voted.
On budget issues, Trible advocated an across-the-board freeze, saying the administration proposal to increase the defense budget, while cutting numerous other programs, would strike too many people as unfair. But efforts at an across-the-board freeze failed.
In the Senate floor debate on the budget, Warner and Trible stuck with the GOP leadership on most amendments, opposing efforts to increase spending.
For instance, both senators voted against amendments to restore money to the school lunch program, the Appalachian Regional Commission, Head Start, developmental disability and handicapped education programs, and guaranteed student loan programs. They also supported the controversial effort to eliminate the cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security recipients next year.
Warner did, however, vote to restore 90 percent of the Amtrak federal money, a subsidy that the administration wanted eliminated. Trible did not vote on the Amtrak amendment.
In the House, Parris and Wolf both opposed a GOP budget proposal. Wolf said he voted against the measure because it would hurt federal workers, while Parris objected to cuts in Amtrak funding.
Wolf said he could support a freeze in defense spending and many other programs, even ones that benefited the region, such as Amtrak. But he said he was opposed to any freeze in Social Security or government pensions, or any freeze in promotions for federal workers.
Parris said that the deficit was the most important task facing Congress. But he said he was opposed to cuts in Amtrak and the Small Business Administration, and any freeze in Social Security benefits, federal worker pay and defense spending. He said he did not have any specific suggestions on how to reduce the deficit, besides reduction in foreign aid.
He added, "The budget is never complied with [by appropriations committees] anyway, so this is all a meaningless" exercise.