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THIS ORD readers w newsstand ables you t si tion at $1 1\( BESIDES TI-1 scribing, you will arrive in fore they are IN ADDITI sc ri pti on you back issue o this envelope AND FINALL sues, you are can obtain a f, to cancel you WHA’ Enter my c one year $11.00 which i name street city, state, zip paymt L_J back ni bill m L__J \(and 1 The Texas OBSERVER Ronnie Dugger. Publisher Vol. 69, No. 24 December 16, 1977 Incorporating the State Observer and the East Texas Democrat, which in turn incorporated the Austin Forum-Advocate. EDITOR Jim Hightower MANAGING EDITOR Lawrence Walsh ASSOCIATE EDITOR Laura Richardson EDITOR AT LARGE Ronnie Dugger ASSISTANT EDITORS: Colin Hunter, Linda Rocawich, Susan Reid STAFF ASSISTANTS: Vicki Vaughan, Margaret Watson, Bob Sindermann, Kathy Tally, Debi Pomeroy, Teresa Acosta, Eric Hartman, Tim Mahoney, David Guarino, Cathy Stevens, Debbie Wormser, Margot Bauder CONTRIBUTORS: Kaye Northcott, Jo Clifton, Dave McNeely, Don Gardner, Warren Burnett, Rod Davis, Steve Russell, Paul Sweeney, Marshall Breger, Jack Hopper, Stanley Walker, Joe Frantz, Ray Reece, Laura Eisenhour, Dan Hubig, Ben Sargent, Berke Breathed, Eje Wray, Luther Sperberg, Roy Hamric, Thomas D. Bleich, Mark Stinson, Ave Bonar, Jeff Danziger, Lois Rankin, Maury Maverick Jr., Bruce Cory A journal of free voices We will serve no group or party but will hew hard to the truth as we find it and the right as we see it. We are dedicated to the whole truth, to human values above all interests, to the rights of humankind as the foundation of democracy; we will take orders from none but our own conscience, and never will we overlook or misrepresent the truth to serve the interests of the powerful or cater to the ignoble in the human spirit. The editor has exclusive control over the editorial policies and contents of the Observer. None of the other people who are associated with the enterprise shares this responsibility with him. Writers are responsible for their own work, but not for anything they have not themselves written, and in publishing them the editor does not necessarily imply that he agrees with them because this is a journal of free voices. BUSINESS STAFF: Cliff Olofson, Alice Embree, Ricky Cruz Published by Texas Observer Publishing Co., biweekly except for a three-week interval between issues twice a year, in January and July: 25 issues per ygar. Second-class postage paid at Austin, Texas. Publication no. 541300. years, $30. Foreign, except APO/FPO, $1 additional per year. Airmail, bulk orders, and group rates on request. Microfilmed by Microfilming Corporation of America, 21 Harristown Road, Glen Rock. N.J. 07452. Editorial and Business Offices: The Texas Observer 600 West 7th Street Austin, Texas 78701 512-477-0746 In Congress By Teresa Acosta and Susan Reid Austin As Christmas comes to the nation’s capital, Congress finally is about to call it quits and go home, thus ending one of the longest and busiest sessions in memory. More than 15,000 bills and resolutions were introduced, and nearly 1,200 made their way through the legislative labyrinth. Not all went smoothly. Carter’s energy package was sr by special interests from the moment of its introduction, j he warned it would be. Twenty-seven men with an averai of 61 sat on a House-Senate conference committee fo months, debating whether Medicaid money for the poor be used in any circumstances for abortions. A lobby disc bill and Carter’s hospital cost-control proposal went into mittee and never again saw the light of day. Committees! It’s hard enough to keep up with a repre tive’s recorded votes, much less keep track of everyone’s mittee performance. Yet huge chunks of a member’s & spent in public or private committee sessionslengthy, relsome, often petty and usually boring affairs. To really Congress, one must get inside these meetings, for as the holds, this ,is where the work of Congress is done. Of c where doesn’t tell much about how, so we offer this sarni ways committee work got done this session: By seniority: The 1975 revolt against the seniority sys over, and one has to ask what was the point of the a uprising. This session, all of the House’s top committee went to senior Democrats. Of the 22 permanent House cc tees, ten were chaired by old-timers from four states: could claim four chairmen; Wisconsin, two; New Jersel and New York, two. The Texans are George Mahon o bock, appropriations; Jack Brooks of Beaumont, govel operations; Olin Teague of College Station, scienc technology; and Ray Roberts of McKinney, veterans’ at By staff: It wasn’t a conference committee that harr out the differences between the House and Senate vers this year’s GI Bill amendmentsit was staff members vi around a breakfast table. The conference committee wasn’t taken for a simple enough reason: the two top-r Democrats on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Texal Roberts and “Tiger” Teague, didn’t request a conferem their opposite numbers in the Senate. It wasn’t an overs members circulated a letter calling for appointment of a ence committee so that any compromises could be reach licly. Teague, however, ignored their plea: “It’s just and easier without a whole lot of people,” he said of t promise process. By brouhaha: The Select Committee on Assassinatic nearly derailed by a three-month long, head-to-head br tween committee chairman Henry Gonzalez of San Anto chief counsel Richard Sprague, former Philadelphia a district attorney. Gonzalez fired Sprague on Feb. 10, other I I members of the committee wrote to Sprague to say that the chairman’s action was invalid, since hiring and firing had to be done by the full committee. Gonzalez retreated to San Antonio, where he claimed to be ill, and remained incommunicado until March 1, when he sent Speaker Tip O’Neill a letter of resignation. Writing of Sprague, Gonzalez said, “I cannot bring myself to sign pay vouchers for an unscrupulous individual, an unconscionable scoundrel, and no power on earth can compel me to do so.” The full House voted 296-100 to accept Gonzalez’s resignation, though out of respect for the buddy system, most of the Texas delegation voted to keep Gonzalez at the helm. The San Antonian was gone, but Sprague resigned any 4111111111.11.1.1111111.0111111110111111111