Despite help from Republicans, support from the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and his own threat of a veto. President Carter yesterday failed to get any reductions in the fiscal 1978 Labor HEW money bill now before Congress.
The House Appropriations Committee approved subcommittee recommendations on the $61.3 billion measure afte defeating by one vote an amendment that would have cut $563 million and brought the bill more in line iith Carter's requests.
As now sent to the House floor, the bill contains $1.4 billion more for HEW Programs than Carter wants. Over half that increase is for education grant and loan programs the President specifically asked be halted.
On the Senate side of the Capitol, an Appropirations subcommittee yesterday approved its own version of the Labor-HEW money bill and added another $765 million for programs above the House committee approved levels.
The President's desire to hold down spending was hardly referred to during the Senate subcommittee's all-dat session.
It was a Republican, House Minority Whip Robert Michel (Ill.), who led the fight to cut the labor-HEW bill in the House Appropriations Committee.
Michel, with tongue in cheek, told the predominantly Democratic committee he was offering his amendment "to help the President and my good Democratic friends to come into agreement and avoid a veto."
The Michel amendement failed when a Democratic freshman member, Rep. Adam Benjamin Jr. (Ind.), switched his vote at the last minute.
Unlike Wednesday, when not one committee Democrat spoke out for Carter's effort to cut water projects, the President yesterday drew support from the panel's respected conservative 'chairman, Rep. George Mahon (D-Tex.).
Mahon told the committee that in Texas "rank-and-file citizens told me I'm sick and tired of excesses in HEW . . . It's growing like Topsy."
Mahon said he had been called Wednesday night by the President's Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Bert Lance. Lance, according to Mahon, said the Labor HEW bill was "too high" as it came from the subcommittee.
Mahon also read the committee a letter from Carterr outlining the Presidnet's uphappiness with the proposed spending levels on public works and Labor-HEW.
After Mahon concluded, there was some disagreement as to whether the Presidnet would,indeed, veto the bill if its totals were not reduced.
Rep. David R. Obey (D-Wis.), a strong supporter of the subcommittee bill, said he had talked Wednesday night and yesterday morning with Bill Cable,a former House employee who recently joined the White House staff to work for Frank Moore, the President's chief congressional liaison man.
Cable had "been at the White house all day" Tuesday, Obey declared, "and it was his firm understanding that the President would sign this bill if it is not increased on the House floor or in the Senate."
Obey siad that it was Cable's understanding also that "while OMB would recommend a veto, that would not be the position of the President."
Cable was not available for ocmment yesterday. But Obey's statement t available for comment yesterday. But Obey's statement ss conference he would consider a veto for the Labor HEW bill and others that don't meet budgteary limits he has set.
The committee vote was closer than expected. Mahon's support for the cut - in opposition to one of his subcommittee's recommendations - crew both conservative and liberal Democrats in support of what was a GOP-Carter position.
Benjamin's switch made the difference.
After that vote, there was a budget-cutting atmosphere when Rep. Silvio O. Conte (R-Mass.) offered an ameendment to add $40.2 million more for the National Cancer Institute.The subcommittee bill already had approved $13 million more for the NCI than Carter has sought.
It was Obey who led the opposition to Conte's amendment though he said, "Normally it's hard to vote against cancer." Obey charged NCI "has become a grant feeding machine" and the committee, by vocie vote, turned down the increase.
Chaired by Sen. Warren Magnuson (D. Wash.), the Senate subcommittee added $353 million over the House bill in the health area. The bulk of that was for the Health Services Administration, Primarily for child care.
Another $126 million increase was for additional national Institutes of Health money. With Mary Lasker, wealthy supporter of government health programs, standing in the rear of the meeting room, the subcommittee voted 15 per cent increases for each institute except NCI, NCI got a 12 per cent increase.
The labor portion of the bill was increased $433 million, including an additional $298 million for the 1978 summer youth job program.