WASHINGTON--The Senate Appropriations Committee voted yesterday to approve $988 million for production of the MX missile of the funds can be sent until Congress approves a basing plan for the nuclear weapon.
By a 16-12 vote, the panel approved an amendment that goes in the same direction as a compromise President Reagan had suggested to save funding for the MX, but it does not give the President the specific time limit for start of the MX program that he wanted.
Money to build the weapon still faces floor votes in the Senate and the House, and House opponents say they can defeat the measure.
The proposal voted by the Appropriations Committee was sponsored by Sen Ernest Hollings (D-S.C.), an opponent of the weapon who said the vote " the position of the Senate against the dense pack basing of the missile that Reagan favored.
Hollings amendment to a stopgap money bill would retain $988 million in the measure to buy the first five of the 100 planned missiles. But it also bars any use of the money until Congress approves a basing plan with no restriction on when that might be.
A day earlier, President Reagan had proposed retaining money to buy the missiles but freezing it only until next spring, when Congress would vote on a new basing mode.
Hollings' move was accepted after only brief debate. His margin of victory came when four Republican senators, some of whose votes were unknown, sided with him. They included Sen Mark Hatfield of Oregon, Lowell Weicker of Connecticut. Arlen Spector of Pennsylvania, and Mark Andrews of North Dakota.