Proposal to Lower Age of Draft Meets Defeat in Congress, 387-3

The House yesterday voted 387-3 to extend the Selective Service Act for another four years after beating down a proposal to stop drafting men over 21.

The amendment was offered by Rep. Roman Pucinski (D-Ill.), and was defeated by a voice vote after Rep. Carl Vinson (D-Ga.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, spoke against the measure.

Vinson pointed out that Pucinski had not offered the amendment when the Selective Service Bill was being studied by his committee.

"I'm disappointed, but hardly surprised," Pucinski said last night. "One very valuable result of the day's debate was that Vinson admitted that the President could alter the draft age without the consent of Congress. I now plan to see if I can get the White House to take some action in this area."

In his speech on the floor Pucinski said "it is cruel and illogical to subject more than 10 million Americans to the shadow of the draft for seven and a half years," when only about 38,000 a year are drafted.

Pucinski also contended that his amendment would lower current levels of unemployment "by eliminating the uncertainty that most boys now face until they are 26--an uncertainty that makes many employers shy away from them."