A House Foreign Affairs subcommittee, on a tie vote, cleared the way yesterday for President Reagan to sell a dozen advanced F5 jet fighters and trainers to Honduras.
Members of the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee voted 6 to 6 on a resolution to block the sale, meaning Honduras will be able to receive the 10 F5E fighters and two F5F trainers it sought as part of a $75 million aid package.
The resolution barring the sale needed a majority vote to pass. In Congress, a tie vote loses.
"It's dead," subcommittee staff member Pete Quilter said of the effort to block the sale. He said the matter would not be taken up by the full Foreign Affairs Committee.
The committee's chief of staff, John J. Brady Jr., said, "It's unlikely that there'll be any more action on it."
Earlier this week, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 10 to 9 to block the jet sale, with Democrats supporting the resolution of disapproval and Republicans opposing it.
Congress had until June 16 to act on Reagan's proposal. By law, both houses of Congress had to pass the resolution of disapproval by that date. But even if the resolution had passed, it faced an almost certain Reagan veto, and opponents of the sale were not thought to have enough votes to override him.
The American-built planes bound for Honduras over the next few years are intended to replace 30-year-old French-built Super Mystere jets for which spare parts are no longer available.
Opponents of the sale contended that the planes would not advance the cause of peace in the volatile Central American region. They also said that, even with its aged French jet fighters, the Honduran air force remains far superior to any other in the region and thus the American jets are not needed.