This report is based on data provided by LEGI-SLATE, a Washington Post Co. subsidiary.
This is a summary of recent congressional actions not reported elsewhere in The Post.
BOTH HOUSES Drinking Water
Prompted by new concerns over widespread contamination of drinking-water supplies, the Senate and a House committee approved legislation that would extend and strengthen the Safe Drinking Water Act. Both bills contain an administration-opposed provision that would require the Environmental Protection Agency to set limits on certain drinking-water contaminants within three years. The Senate bill, passed by voice vote, would authorize $131 million annually for fiscal 1986-89, while the measure approved by the House Energy and Commerce Committee would provide $69 million a year for fiscal 1986-87 and $82.8 million for 1988-89. The Senate bill would require tougher regulation of contaminants by local water systems than the House version would. (S124, May 16; HR1650, May 15)
SENATE Farm Commodities
The Agriculture Committee approved two bills designed to bolster U.S. farm exports. The panel approved legislation that would require the administration to implement an export Payment-in-Kind program that would give surplus farm commodities to U.S. exporters and foreign purchasers as an incentive to buy U.S. farm products. The next day, Agriculture Secretary John R. Block announced that the administration will implement the program. The panel also passed a measure that would make several farm commodity programs exempt from cargo-preference laws. The laws require that half of government cargo be shipped on U.S. vessels, which is usually more expensive. (S1040, No bill number yet; May 14)
HOUSE Maritime Funds
The House voted, 371 to 46, to fund several maritime programs at fiscal 1985 levels or less. The bill would authorize $417 million for the Maritime Administration in fiscal 1986, a cut of $48 million from the fiscal 1985 appropriation, but $48 million more than the administration sought. The total includes $335 million in subsidies for U.S. cargo ships to help them compete with foreign vessels. The measure also would authorize $12 million for the Federal Maritime Commission. The House rejected, 318 to 100, an attempt to cut the authorizations 20 percent below 1985 levels. (HR1157; May 14) Saccharin Use
The House sent legislation to the White House that would permit saccharin to be used in foods and drinks for another two years. The Food and Drug Administration proposed a saccharin ban in 1977, but Congress has repeatedly voted to delay it. Saccahrin has been linked to cancer in laboratory rats. (S484; May 14) Health Institutes
The Energy and Commerce Committee approved, 17 to 6, legislation that would establish two new institutes -- one for arthritis, the other for nursing -- at the National Institutes for Health. President Reagan vetoed a similar measure last year. The bill does not set the proposed institutes' funding levels. The bill would also authorize $2.4 billion in fiscal 1986 for the NIH's National Cancer Institute and National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. (HR2409; May 15) Nuclear Test Bans
By voice vote, the Foreign Affairs Committee approved a nonbinding resolution calling on Reagan to seek ratification of the 1974 Threshold Test Ban Treaty and the 1976 Peaceful Nuclear Explosion Treaty. The administration opposes ratification. The measure also calls on Reagan to negotiate a comprehensive test-ban treaty with the Soviet Union. (HJRes3; May 15) Suing the Government
The Judiciary Committee approved legislation that would award attorneys' fees to individuals and small businesses who successfully sue the government. The Equal Access to Justice Act expired Oct. 1. The president vetoed an extension of it. (HR2223; May 15)