07/95 BATF Increase Vote: Part 1

House Votes to Support BATF
(PART I)

by Gun Owners of America

(July 21, 1995) — By a vote of 317-111, the House of Representatives defeated an amendment on Wednesday to limit funding for the BATF (see vote listed below). Rep. Helen Chenoweth (R-ID), author of the amendment, said her provision would prevent “any member of ATF from receiving any bonuses or salary rewards this year until the Waco and the Ruby Ridge and other investigations have been concluded.”

ACTION ITEM:

See the vote listed below. If your Representative is listed as having voted against the Chenoweth amendment, call him and protest his vote. Call 1-800-962-3524, 1-800-872-8513 or 202-225-3121.

You guys did a great job in calling your Representatives on Wednesday and opposing H.R. 2020, the Treasury Appropriations bill. Even though the bill passed, it did so by only 5 votes (216-211). A switch of only 3 votes would have killed the bill! The bill’s passage means, unfortunately, that the BATF will be receiving a $6 million increase for its 1996 budget.

Who stabbed gun owners in the back? Of the Republicans who will be doing the lion-share of “prosecuting” witnesses during the Waco hearings, only Reps. Bob Barr (GA) and Steve Buyer (IN) voted right on the Chenoweth amendment. Reps. Ed Bryant (TN) and Steve Schiff (NM) voted against limiting the BATF’s pay, as did the committee chairmen — Reps. Bill McCollum (FL) and Bill Zeliff (NH).

Spin-control or ignorance? Some staffers suggested on Wednesday that you guys had your facts wrong. They claimed that H.R. 2020 — the bill under consideration — was giving the BATF a pay cut (when in reality it was a pay increase). Here’s the official statistics for the BATF budget for 1995 and 1996:

     * 1995 budget (final bill after House 
and Senate conferred) -- $385,315,0001
(Source: House Appropriations Committee,
cited in 1994 CQ Almanac, p. 537)

* 1996 budget (House version) -- $391,035,0002
(Source: H.R. 2020)

As you can see, the House is giving the BATF a $6 million pay increase. Share this information with those staffers that claimed so vehemently that H.R. 2020 was giving BATF a pay cut.

As we mentioned before, the above figures do not include supplemental funds. (Supplemental funding increased the original 1995 budget to a higher level than the $385 million mentioned above, and supplemental funding will, most likely, increase the 1996 budget to more than the $391 million appropriated in H.R. 2020.) Because supplemental funding can not be anticipated and can vary greatly from year to year, it seems more prudent to use a common standard; to compare the original budgets. (Already, the House is preparing to vote on supplemental funds for the BATF’s 1996 budget — this is in addition to the $391 million appropriated in H.R. 2020. We’ll tell you more about this in an upcoming alert.)

In conclusion, a comparison of the appropriations budgets for 1995 and 1996 shows that BATF is getting a $6 million increase. Considering that Americans voted for drastic change in November of last year, one must ask, “What’s wrong with this picture?”

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