Rep. Stan Parris and Rep. Frank R. Wolf broke rank with the GOP leadership yesterday over federal spending.
Wolf and Parris were the only two Republicans from Virginia or Maryland to oppose the Republican leadership's budget alternative, offered by Rep. Delbert L. Latta of Ohio, the ranking Republican on the Budget Committee.
The two Northern Virginians were not alone when 77 other Republican congressmen also opposed the proposal, which was defeated on a vote of 329 to 102.
Wolf said he objected to the provisions affecting federal workers; Parris said he most strongly objected to proposed Amtrak cuts.
Both Republicans also voted against the Democratic budget plan, which was approved, 258 to 170. The two representatives said that the proposal won't cut next year's deficit by $56 million, as the Democrats claim.
All of Virginia's six Republican representatives opposed the final budget resolution, while three Democrats supported the measure. Rep. Dan Daniel of Danville, a conservative Democrat, voted against his party's budget resolution.
Maryland's two House Republicans opposed the final budget resolution, and all of the state's six Democrats supported it.
Wolf said he believes that the federal government must reduce most of its programs to reduce the deficit. He said he was ready to support a freeze in defense spending at current levels and cuts in area programs such as Amtrak. But he said he is opposed to a freeze in Social Security or government pensions.
One proposal, offered Tuesday by moderate Republicans, contained all of those elements mentioned by Wolf, except one -- it froze pensions for federal and retired military. "I just could not support that," said Wolf.
Wolf, a Fairfax County Republican, said that although the Latta budget alternative did not freeze federal pensions, it did freeze all federal worker promotions for a year, which would deprive many federal workers of expected pay raises. His district has a high percentage of federal workers.
Parris said he was opposed to proposed cuts in Amtrak, which he said would seriously hinder efforts to get commuter rail service in Northern Virginia. Parris also said he objected to the proposed freeze in federal pay, Social Security payments and defense spending. He said defense spending must be allowed to increase to accommodate inflation.
Parris said he is opposed to Republican efforts to eliminate direct loans by the Small Business Administation.
He added, however, that reducing the deficit was the most important task facing Congress. Asked how he would do that, Parris replied, "I'm not going to go through each line of the budget with you. There are 900 categories."
Parris later suggested reductions in foreign aid, adding that domestic spending should also be reduced. He declined to name any specific programs, except for agricultural subsidies.
"The effort to try to prioritize the 1,000 categories is a meaningless exercise," said Parris. He added, "The budget is never complied with by the appropriation committees anyway, so this is all a meaningless" exercise.
Parris and Wolf both opposed an amendment endorsing a minimum tax on corporations, as did all the members of the Virginia delegation.
In Maryland, Republican Reps. Marjorie S. Holt and Helen Bentley, and Democratic Reps. Roy P. Dyson and Beverly B. Byron opposed the minimum tax. Democratic Reps. Michael D. Barnes, Steny H. Hoyer, Barbara A. Mikulski and Parren J. Mitchell supported the minimum tax amendment.
Mitchell and Hoyer also were the only Maryland or Virginia congressmen to support a budget alternative proposed by the Black Caucus. It would have made deep cuts in defense spending, increased some social welfare plans and raised taxes for the wealthy while lowering them for the poor.