The Senate followed the House yesterday in overwhelmingly disassociating itself from the administration's vote against an ethical code for marketing baby formula in Third World countries.
The House, by a vote of 301 to 100, had viewed with "dismay" the administration's action, which made this the only country out of 119 to oppose the code when the World Health Organization adopted it last month. The Senate used the less critical word "concern" and thus was able to pile up an almost unanimous vote, 89 to 2.
But the Senate provision, an amendment to the State Department's annual authorization bill, provided an opening for some sharper language on the floor. aSen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) called it "shameful" that the administration should have opposed a world effort to reduce infant deaths caused by use of formula prepared under unsanitary conditions rather than breastfeeding in poor countries.
Kennedy said the Senate and House votes show the world that if the decision had been up to Congress rather than the administration, it would have acted affirmatively "in its concern for humanity."
The Senate provision urged the administration and the infant formula industry to "support the basic airm of the code." The votes against it were cast by John P. East (R-N.C.) and Steve Symms (R-Idaho). The House acted on a separate resolution; House-Senate conferees will have to decide its final form.
The senate then passed the bill setting a spending ceiling of $2.4 billion for State next year and sent it to the House.