Capitol Hill Surprises – SALT II In Jeopardy – September 20, 1979

Carter with Brzezinski and Vance – Cuba tosses the Monkey Wrench in SALT II.

Capitol Hill: In a move that took everyone by surprise, a suddenly rebellious House forced Democratic leaders to take a second look at a $486 billion 1980 budget that went down to stunning defeat The House rejected the spending package 213-192 Wednesday night as Republicans joined with some conservative and liberal Democrats in an unusual coalition against the budget. The vote sent the budget back to committee where was expected to be changed only slightly before being returned to the floor in the coming week.
The 1980 budget year would begin Oct 1. The unexpected rejection came just hours after the House refused to join the Senate in raising defense spending However the defeat seemed to result from dissatisfaction with overall spending levels rather than from the defense issue. On a 62-36 vote Wednesday the Senate approved its $463 billion version of the 1980 budget containing 3 percent growth in 1980 defense spending over and above inflation. The Senate also included non-binding 5 percent “real defense increases for fiscal 1981 and 1982 The House budget would increase 1980 defense spending by about 1 percent after inflation.

SALT II was looking to be in jeopardy again. The Treaty was pending ratification by the US Senate and according to information Dionne received this week from White House staff the treaty could leave Senate committee review by mid-October. Floor debate would then begin in early December. In his taped presentation National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski said SALT II, if signed into agreement would be a step in the right direction for establishing nuclear stability between the world’s two superpowers the US and the Soviet Union. SALT II would induce stability info a relationship which is both unstable and dangerous Brzezinski said apparently referring to the recent discovery of some 2000 to 3000 Soviet combat troops on the island of Cuba.

And aside from the ongoing drama on Capitol Hill, that’s just a part of what this September 20th sounded like, via The CBS World News Roundup for September 20, 1979.

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