The House Budget Committee sent to the floor yesterday a trimmed-down, compromise 1978 budget to replace one that liberals and conservatives teamed up to defeat early Thursday.
The committee cut back sharply money for defense that had upset liberals and reduced the deficit that had caused conservatives to join in a vote to send the House spending guide back to committee for a reworking.
Rep. Robert N. Giaimo (D-Conn.) said the reworked budget proposal tries to "strike a balance between defense and nondefense spending" acceptable to a majority of the House. Majority Leader Jim Wright (D-Tex.) said he thinks the new spending target will "fly" when it is taken upon the floor next Thursday.
The rejection of the budget by the full House Thursday had evoked angry responses from Democratic leaders who charged that the administration lobbied behind their backs to boost defense spending $2.3 billion to the level recommended by President Carter.
The compromise budget - which was passed by the committee on a voice vote with no debate - adds only $300 million to military spending in fiscal 1978 (which starts Oct. 1, 1977) and gives the Pentagon authority to spend or commit to spend in later years $1.15 billion more.
The compromise was finally worked out among committee Democrats in a caucus minutes before the committee hearing yesterday morning.
The compromise budget also adds funds for World War I pensions, agricultural price supports and law enforcement. It contains a deficit of $66.3 billion, $2 billion larger than the committee recommended last time, but below the $68.6 billion budget deficit which the House soundly defeated early Thursday morning.
The compromise spending guide still may have problems.
Rep. Omar Burleson (D-Tex.), who authored the amendment in the full house Thursday that boosted military spending to the level desired by the President, said he could not support the defense level in the committee compromise. He told reporters it was "arbitrary, . . . plucked out of thin air" by Chairman Giaimo.
Rep. Barber B. Conable Jr. (R-N-Y.) said in a telephone interview that House Republicans could never support a budget deficit as big as the one proposed by the committee yesterday.
But Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman (D-N.Y.), who like most liberal was angered by the big increase in defense spending the House voted earlier this week, said she will support the compromise "very reluctantly."
The House and Senate are supposed to agree on a budget target for the upcoming fiscal year by May 15, under the budget process adopted two years ago by Congress to guide it in allocating funds among competing interests.
Until Congress approves such a preliminary 1978 budget, it cannot take up any spending or authorizing bills.
The Senate will take up its Budget Committee recommendations early next week. The Senate committee has a 1976 budget with a deficit of $63.2 billion. Both the House and Senate committees have recommended deficits well above the $57.9 billion called by Carter.
While House Speaker Thomas P. O'Neill Jr. said the budget process broke down in the House because Defense Secretary Harold Brown made an "end-around" play, bypassing the leadership to lobby for restoration of the defense funds, Burleson said Brown was not guilty of any such impropriety.
"he didn't take the initiative, I did," Burleson said yesterday. Burleson said that when he decided to try to boost defense spending from the committee's recommended $109.6 billion to $111.9 billion he called Brown and asked him if that was still te administration's position.
When Brown said it was, "I asked for a letter to tht effect," Burleson said. "He gave me a letter. There was no end run."
The compromise House Budget adds $2 billion to the $462.3 billion spending level first advocated by the Budget Committee, still $25 billion less than was added on the floor.