WASHINGTON -- Republicans warned a House leadership panel that only a few GOP law makers will support funding for failed savings and loans, and urged support for amendments aimed at trimming the price tag of the legislation.
"You have 276 Democrats, and you're going to lose 70 o them," said Rep. Gerald Solomon, R-N.Y., during a hearing before the House Rules Committee. "You need Republicans."
The rules committee, an arm of the House leadership, took up the Clinton administration's $34 billion funding package Tuesday with the expectation that the measure could be cleared for floor action today.
Delay in Vote Expected
Even Tuesday, however, the leadership was reported to be nervous about the prospects for the bill, and some congressional sources said a floor vote would probably be delayed.
Tuesday afternoon, key members of the House Banking Committee held talks on controversial parts of the bill, including the size of the Resolution Trust Corp. and Savings Association Insurance Fund appropriations and minority contracting provisions.
Vote counts show about 190 Democrats supporting the measure, 28 short of a majority.
And Rep. Solomon, a member of the Rules Committee, said Tuesday that unless the House approves a Republican-sponsored amendment eliminating funding for the SAIF, no more than six Republicans will vote for the package.
Democrats responded that Congress has no choice but to pass the funding package.
"It's the only fiscally responsible thing to do," said Rep. Stephen L. Neal, D-N.C., chairman of the House subcommittee that considered the measure first.
More Modest Funding Proposed
"Depositors have a claim on the federal government and they are going to get their money one way or the other," he said. "This provides an orderly mechanism."
Several Republican-backed amendments appeared likely to be approved for floor consideration. One, sponsored by Rep. Sam Johnson of Texas, would scale back finding for the RTC to $11.9 billion, down from the $18.3 billion approved by the House Banking Committee.
A second amendment, sponsored by Rep. Bill McCollum, R-Fla., and Rep. Jan Meyers, R-Kan., would scale back minority contracting requirements for the RTC.
A third, offered by Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., would limit pay for RTC employees to the levels established for other federal employees.
A major question mark is the fate of an amendment sponsored by Rep. Richard Baker, R-La., and Rep. Richard Dreier, R-Calif., that would remove all funding for the SAIF, but give the RTC an additional year to deal with failed institutions.
With SAIF funding removed, the bill could be more attractive to many Republicans. However, a number of liberal Democrats and minority lawmakers might abandon the bill if minority contracting provisions are scaled back, as the Baker-Dreier provision would also do.
Still, a number of Republicans present said they would vote against the bill no matter how it is amended.