An article Saturday incorrectly described the position of Sen. John Heinz (R-Pa.) on the proposed constitutional amendment to balance the budget. He voted against the amendment in 1982 and this year. His staff said he opposed the proposal because it was amended to include a provision requiring a positive vote by a three-fifths majority of the Senate in order to increase the national debt limit.
White House chief of staff Donald T. Regan refused to give a major fund-raising speech for the Senate Republican campaign committee after Sen. John Heinz (R-Pa.), its chairman, voted against a constitutional amendment to balance the budget, Republican sources said today.
The amendment, representing a longtime goal of President Reagan, had passed the Senate in previous years but was defeated March 25 by a vote of 66 to 34, one short of the two-thirds majority required for passage.
Heinz had been lobbied by the White House to vote for the amendment -- as he did in 1982 -- and the president telephoned him on the day of the vote to appeal for his support, the sources said.
However, within hours after the amendment was defeated with Heinz and nine other Republicans voting against it, the White House called to say that Regan could not give a speech at the April 15 "Majority '86" fund-raising luncheon for Senate Republicans, sources said. The event is sponsored by the National Republican Senatorial Committee, of which Heinz is chairman.
One GOP official familiar with the events said Regan was "trying to send a signal" to Heinz of the president's displeasure with his vote, which could have averted the defeat.
The official said Regan's decision not to give the speech was viewed by Republican officials as directly tied to the Heinz vote, even though it was not explicitly stated that way by Regan.
The official said the White House had earlier indicated that Regan, considered a "major draw" for such an event, would give the speech. The Washington event is designed to raise money from major Republican donors for the campaign to keep the Senate under GOP control.
However, Mitchell E. Daniels Jr., assistant to the president for political affairs, said today that it was an "unfortunate coincidence" that Regan turned down the speech on the same day as the Heinz vote.
Daniels said Regan asked him about the speech, and he responded that there were higher priority events Regan could do that day. Daniels said that "the one and only reply we gave is that we couldn't, and we're sorry."
Regan expressed anger at the Senate vote in remarks earlier this week at a Los Angeles event to raise money for whomever wins the Republican nomination to challenge Sen. Alan Cranston (D-Calif.). Regan and top White House political aides, who were accompanying the president on his California vacation here, took time out to attend the Los Angeles event.
In his comments there, Regan mentioned the defeat of the balanced-budget amendment and said it might have passed if there were one more Republican senator from California.
But Regan then delivered some "very, very tough" criticism of the 10 Republicans who voted against the amendment, saying that they "walked away" from the president, according to a Republican source who was present.
While expressing frustration at defections from his party, Reagan has never gone along with plans to retaliate by withholding support from them. However, aides have often talked about such retaliation, particularly the withholding of campaign speeches and trips, against Republican lawmakers who oppose the president.
"The White House has looked at ways to retaliate -- and they have yet to perfect that science," said the Republican source. "It has never really worked."
This source also said that Heinz was not upset by the Regan decision. "This is not the way to get his attention," the source said.
In a statement after the vote, Heinz said he supported the concept of a balanced-budget amendment but voted against it because of a provision requiring a three-fifths Senate majority to increase the national debt. Heinz raised a similar objection in 1982.
Although Regan decided not to speak at this fund-raising event, officials said he has agreed to give other speeches on behalf of Senate Republicans, including his appearance last Monday in Los Angeles.