An insurrection is being organized within the House against the enlarged defense bill written by its Armed Services Committee.
The committee rewrote much of President Carter's defense bill adding $2.4 billion in the process.
Rather than challenge the additions one at a time as in past years, the insurrectionists this time will argue that the whole bill is one big "Christmas tree" which should be pulled down all at once.
Rep. Bob Carr (D. Mich.) will offer Carter's original bill to the Bouse as a substitute for the committee's providing a fresh challenge to the tradition that the hawkish committee's views on defense spending should prevail.
In the floor test expected to come late this week or early next, the insurrectionists believe their chances of winning - though not great - are better than usual because of the expressed unwillingness of the House to break the ceilings set byits Budget Committee.
On May 3, the House voted 262 to 142 against an amendment by Rep. Samuel S. Stratton (D-N. Y.) to raise the government's budget ceiling so that his committee's $2.4 billion addition to the Pentagon money bill could fit under it.
Win or lose, this latest fight over how much is enough for defense and who should decide how to spend it spotligbts the extraordinary number of changes both the House and Senate Armed Service committees have recommended in Carter's Fiscal 1979 military budget.
Pressure from defense contractors, the Air National Guard and the lawmakers' conviction that Congress, not the executive, should design the Navy for the future all played major roles in reshaping the president's defense budget within those committees.
The Vought Corp. of Dallas is in danger of going out of business as a prime aerospace contractor unless the A7 fighter-bomber Carter has termed obsolete remains in production. The president put no money for the A7 in the defense budget he sent to Congress.
But both the House and Senate Armed Services committees, which set ceilings on the amount of money that can go to a given weapon, voted to keep the A7 program alive by ordering more planes.
The House committee added $154 million to buy 24 more A7s for the Navy and $141 million to buy 16 trainer versions for the Air National Guard, or an addition of $295 million for a plane the president said the country does not need.
The Senate Armed Services Committee, whose ranking Republican is Sen. John Tower of Vought's home state of Texas, added $194.6 million to buy 21 trainer A7s for the guard.
Needs of the Air National Guard, which lobbied hard for new aircraft this year, also were cited by the House Armed Services Committee in Justifying the addition of $145 million to buy 16 C130 transport planes made by Lockheed in Marietta, Ga!
Assailing both the A7 and C130 additions, totaling $440 million, Reps. Carr, Thomas J. Downey (D-N. U.) and Patricia Schroeder (D-Colo.) protested that "this goody is made up of one part plums for Vought Corp., one part pork for the Air National Guard and one part serving both funsctions in a dual threat mode."
However, in another example of how defense contractors influence the way politicians from their home areas vote on defense issues, Downley, in a different press relase, hailed the House Armed Services Committee for adding $200 million to buy 12 more Grumman F14 fighters than Carter requested. The planes are manufactured in Grumman's Long Isaldn plant, where many of Downey's constituents work.
"The House Armed Services Committee has taken forceful action to insure the future security our Navy," Downey said of the $200 million F14 addition.
Besides Vought, Lockheed and Grumman, the California-based Northrop Corp. stands to benefit from committee rewrites of Carter's defense bill. The House committee recommended an additional $138 million for Northrop's F18 aircraft and the Senate an extra $134 million.
Both the House and Senate committees have complained that Carter's Navy shipbuilding program is too astere. They have voted to build another giant nuclear aircraft carrier, even though the president is trying to switch to cheaper ones, as they insist on designing the future Navy.