A Senate subcommittee that will meet today to consider approving the funds necessary to register 19-and 20-year-old men for the draft appears evenly divided on the proposal, Capitol Hill observers said yesterday.
White House and Pentagon officials staged a major last-minute lobbying drive yesterday among swing voters on a sub-committee of the Senate Appropriations Committee, the first group to consider the measure since the House of Representatives passed it by 30 votes last week.
The subcommittee, which will meet this morning and send the bill on to the full committee, will either approve a budgetary transfer of $4.7 million--enough to beef up Selective Service System (SSS) capabilities--or about $13.3 million, enough to register about 4 million men born in 1960 and 1961.
The full Senate, which appears to favor registration by about 20 votes, must still approve the proposal.
One Capitol Hill observer said yesterday that because there are some "squishy" votes on the subcommittee, the expected 6-6 deadlock may be broken in favor of anti-registration forces.
The source said subcommittee members Sen. Birch Bayh (D-Ind.), who appears to favor registration, and Sen. Harrison Schmidt (R-N.J.), against registration, are wavering.
"Whatever happens, it's bound to be interesting," the source said.
Joan Lamb, an SSS spokesman, said yesterday SSS officials are confident they have the subcommittee votes needed to approve the proposal.
Even if the subcommittee approves only $4.7 million, the full Appropriations Committee will probably approve the $13.3 million which the White House supports, another source said yesterday.
One White House survey shows 15 of the full committee's 28 members in favor of registration, with 13 opposed. A source close to the sub-committee, however, said the vote may be even stronger in favor of the president's proposal