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The U.S. Senate approved a $7.15 million expansion of the Navy submarine test facility at Lake Pend Oreille in a 92-6 vote Thursday and sent the measure to the White House. Coincidentally, the Navy held a public hearing at Bayview on Thursday evening, taking comments from Gov. Phil Batt's staff and the general public on the project.
Spokane County commissioners agreed Thursday to spend up to $7,000 asking taxpayers how they'd like their money spent. "This is what I've been wanting us to do for a long time ... establishing priorities on some basis other than witchcraft," said Commissioner Steve Hasson.
Taxpayers will spend $25 million on military construction projects in the Inland Northwest next year under a budget approved Thursday by Congress. Fairchild Air Force Base will get $18 million for two major construction projects, and a North Idaho naval station will receive another $7 million.
1. Tourists gather around Bill Stutz, of Idaho Fish and Game, at the Sawtooth Hatchery. Stutz sent the tagged chinook to a holding pond where it will stay until spawning. Photos by Sandra Bancroft-Billings/The Spokesman-Review 2. For three spawning seasons, Doug Cutting has checked a sockeye trap on Redfish Lake Creek every day. "I'm not lucky," says Cutting who has yet to find a sockeye. 3. An identification tag is stapled onto the gill cover of a male chinook at the Sawtooth Hatchery in Stanley, Idaho. 4. Theresa Elliott cleans tanks that house chinook fry at Clearwater Fish Hatchery in Ahsahka, Idaho. 5. A display at the Bonneville Dam visitors center shows the development of a hatchery chinook. 6. The right to fish is sacred for Native Americans like Mike Cloud, who catches chinook near The Dalles Dam. Tribes look to hatcheries to rebuild depleted salmon runs.
1. Michael Ford, a biologist with the National Marine Fisheries Service in Seattle, studies genetic variability in chinook. Photos by Sandra Bancroft-Billings/The Spokesman-Review 2. A researcher adjusts a wire after inserting a radio transmitter into the mouth of a spring chinook at the Bonneville Dam. 3. Wanda Bennett sorts fish at Lower Granite Dam. Many of the fish are drugged, branded, tagged, then loaded onto a barge for a trip downstream. 4. University of Idaho researcher Rudy Ringe and helper Dennis Quaempts prepare to tag a chinook, which will be tracked as it moves through Columbia Basin dams. 5. Fish biologist Jeffrey G. Nelson monitors tanks holding young salmon on the barge Chinook as they ride down the Snake River. 6. The Corps of Engineers is testing this contraption, called a surface collector, designed to herd young salmon around Lower Granite Dam. 7. Bobby Johnson hustles down a corridor in the bowels of McNary Dam during an inspection of screens that protect fish from turbines.
The House voted to boost money to fight crime and illegal drugs while freezing or cutting other programs in a fiscal 1997 spending bill for the departments of Commerce, Justice and State approved Wednesday. The $29.5 billion spending bill, passed 246-179, is up $1.7 billion from 1996 spending levels. Nearly all of that is accounted for by a $1.6 billion increase for crime initiatives, to $16.3 billion.
In a rare disagreement, Idaho's two Republican members of Congress canceled each other's votes on the $11 billion Treasury Department appropriations bill. Conservative freshman Helen Chenoweth was among 20 Republicans to join Democrats in opposing the bill while second-term Congressman Michael Crapo was in the majority that approved the measure on Wednesday but only on a 215-207 vote. The bill cuts the Internal Revenue Service budget by 11 percent to $6.6 billion in the coming spending year - something the Clinton administration warned could delay tax refunds and reduce revenue collections.
The Senate passed a massive defense authorization bill Wednesday that would give the Pentagon $11.1 billion more than it requested, setting up an election-year confrontation with President Clinton, who has threatened to veto the legislation. Defying the administration, senators voted 68-31 to approve a defense authorization bill that paves the way for $265.5 billion in military spending in fiscal 1997, blunting Clinton's plans for a final whack at the Pentagon budget that would have trimmed it by $8.9 billion.
In an emergency action aimed at ending the arsons that have ravaged black churches in the rural South, President Clinton announced Tuesday that he planned to send $6 million to a dozen states struck by the fires. The additional money "would allow every county in the affected states to hire a new police officer for the summer to patrol the back roads, to visit the churches, to keep watch for signs of trouble," said the president.
This is straight out of the movies. Last spring, raging floodwaters nearly washed away Dan Hagman's bar and RV park, nestled deep in a high river valley far up in the wilds of North Idaho. The owner of Albert's Place & The Otter Park, about a mile above Enaville on the North Fork of the Coeur d'Alene River in the middle of nowhere, applied to the federal Small Business Administration for a $126,000 repair loan. He got turned down.
The federal government - not counting the CIA spent at least $5.6 billion last year keeping secret documents secret, a member of the House Intelligence Committee reported. That figure is surely an underestimate, said Rep. David Skaggs, D-Colo., who is a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. The CIA refused to submit a public report on its own spending on keeping classified documents. And security officials cannot say for certain how many pages of classified documents exist, though the figure is well into the billions.
The House Thursday voted 226 to 195 along party lines to approve a new GOP balanced budget and tax-cut plan that was streamlined and moderated by Republicans to enhance their election year prospects. But budget hawks, led by House Budget Committee Chairman John R. Kasich, R-Ohio, said they would not abandon some of the more revolutionary features of last year's budget plan, especially a big tax cut.
Federal taxpayers will spend nearly $2.5 million to help Spokane city and county hire 33 new cops and cover half their pay and benefits for three years. After that, Spokane area residents will be solely responsible for keeping those officers on the job at an estimated cost of more than $1.5 million per year.
Ending one of the most bitterly fought budget battles in U.S. history, Congress passed a far-reaching $160 billion spending plan Thursday that represents a major achievement for Republicans who swept to power nearly two years ago. The bill's central achievement is to reverse a decades-old trend of ever-increasing federal spending and to cut $23 billion from a wide swath of domestic programs, from subsidized housing for the poor to the National Endowment for the Arts.
Congressional leaders and White House officials announced agreement Wednesday on a huge bill financing dozens of federal agencies for the rest of the fiscal year, solving a months-long standoff that had become a political embarrassment for both parties. Nearly seven months after fiscal 1996 began, the two sides resolved a handful of stubborn environmental disputes - in many cases following retreats by Republicans - and prepared to push the $160 billion measure through Congress today.
The federal government spends billions of tax dollars each year feeding people who can't afford to feed themselves. But the agency in charge of food stamps, the school lunch program and other nutrition programs can't say exactly how it spent the $13.5 billion it was given in 1994.
The new line-item veto law will give presidents a power over federal spending they have coveted since the administration of Ulysses S. Grant. And it marks the biggest victory so far for the GOP effort to implement its manifesto, the "Contract with America." Yet, as President Clinton signed the measure into law Tuesday, analysts of both parties acknowledged that its powers have been overstated - and that chief executives often will be reluctant to use it at all for fear of political consequences.
Aging computers sold for $2 a pop. Hardback books went for a dime each. A "Powershred" paper shredder sold for $32.50. But the best steals at the Fairchild Air Force Base auction Tuesday were new items still in boxes - surplus equipment the Pentagon bought but never needed.
By an overwhelming majority, the Senate voted on Wednesday night to cede much of Congress' authority over federal spending to the White House beginning next year. The historic legislation, a central part of Republican dogma, is sure to be passed by the House within days and to be signed by President Clinton, who supports it without reservation, as have all his recent predecessors. But equally certain is the prospect that its constitutionality will be immediately challenged in court.
A government watchdog group says a new $8.2 million dormitory at Fairchild Air Force Base is "pork." The congressman they accuse of bringing home the bacon, Rep. George Nethercutt of Spokane, strenuously disagrees. Citizens Against Government Waste lists the base dormitory as pork in its "1996 Congressional Pig Book" released earlier this week.