A $23.3 billion appropriation to fund President Carter's economic stimulus program and create nearly 1 million jobs passed the House yesterday, 281 to 126.
The bill was sent to the Senate, which is expected to pass it soon. Congressional leaders want to have the entire tax-relief-spending package on the President's desk before the Easter recess.
Major items in the bill include $4 billion for quick-start public works projects, $6.8 billion to create an additional 415,000 public service jobs, $2.5 billion for job training, $5 billion in general revenue-sharing funds that local governments can spend for almost any purpose, $632 million to help local governments in depressed areas maintain vital services and $3.2 billion in $50 payments to Welfare families and other poor persons.
As sent to the House floor the bill carried about $1.7 billion more in spending authority than the President had requested. At the request of House Democratic leaders who felt it was still too little, the House yesterday added $707 million for swwage treatment plant construction and railroad bed repairs.
Rep. George H. Mahon (D-Tex.), appropriations Committee chairman and the only member of today's House who was here in 1935, when Congress enacted the first big job-creating bills that set up the Workds Process Administration and Public Works Administration, said:
"We spend a great deal of our time throwing money at problems" with only partial success. He said he expected the bill would produce some inflation, but that he hoped it could reduce unemployment and he supported it.
On the other hand, Rep. Elford A. Cederberg (R-Mich.), senior Republican on the Appropriations Committee, opposed it, saying: "If money was the solution to these economic problems they would have been solved long ago." He said a tax cut would be a better way to speed economic recovery.
A Republican attempt to cut nearly $400 million in aid to local governments because it was above the authorization ceiling was rejected, 225 to 183. A Cederberg attempt to require that at least 10 per cent of employees on public works projects be local residents was rejected, 245 to 165, as red tape that would delay getting the projects started.