Proposition 13 fever, after provoking a spate of 2 percent cuts in money bills in the House, appeared to be fading yesterday, as the House rejected a similar spending slash for the Housing and Urban Development Department and some independent agencies.
Yesterday's was the second successive rejection of an across-the-board cut. On Friday a military construction bill escaped the slash, without a record vote.
On the HUD appropriations the cut was defeated 222 to 156. The bill ultimately was approved 332 to 47.
The apparent turnabout in the House's mood was signaled by Rep. Abraham Kazen (D-Tex.), who argued that across-the-board cuts left the selection of targets to the executive branch and amounted to Congress giving up its power of the purse. "I hate to say cut but not tell them where to cut," Kazen said.
But Rep. Clarence Miller (R-Ohio), who successfully attached cutting amendments to appropriation bill for Labor-HEW, State-Commerce-Justice and public works, said that specific cuts have not worked. "We have tried that in the past and every time a pet program of somebody's" is saved, he said. "If we designate each program on the floor we'll never have a cut."
"This is a first step to show we want a reduction in spending. We're paying interest on the national debt of $151 million a day," Miller said.
Cuts in specific programs were rejected by the house yesterday, but so were increases.
The House refused 211 to 173, to cut about $133 million from Enviromental Protection Agency funds for pollution abatement and control and for enforcement. Rep. William Harsha (R-Ohio) said the cuts would "gut" the agency when it needs additional personnel to administer the laws Congress has passed.
The House also refused to add to an $800 million program for housing the elderly and handicapped, and it rejected increases for the Selective Service System.
In arguing against cuts, the chairman of the appropriations subcommittee for HUD, Edward Boland (D-Mass.), said the $68.2 billion bill was some $1.3 billion below President Carter's request and some $6 billion below the previous year's request.
The cutting fever may not be entirely gone. The bills the House refused to cut, military construction and HUD, are the kind of domestic spending measures members of Congress like to advertise as doing something for the people in their districts. [TEXT OMITTED FROM SOURCE] tr for add four