ACCESSION NUMBER:383724 FILE ID:PO1504 DATE:03/17/95 TITLE:CONGRESSIONAL REPORT, FRIDAY, MARCH 17 (03/17/95) TEXT:*95031704.PO1 CONGRESSIONAL REPORT, FRIDAY, MARCH 17 (Unfunded mandates, Somalia) (600) UNFUNDED MANDATES BILL GOES TO PRESIDENT CLINTON Congress has given final approval to the unfunded mandates bill, the second major piece of legislation under the Republican "Contract With America" that has been approved by Congress. 1he House of Representatives March 16 approved the conferees' version of the legislation by a vote of 394 to 28. The Senate passed the conference report March 15 by a vote of 91 to 9. President Clinton has indicated he will sign the legislation. The legislation requires Congress to pay for any regulation it imposes on states and local governments that would cost more than $50 million, unless Congress, by a majority vote in both chambers, decides otherwise. The legislation does not apply to federal laws protecting constitutional rights, civil rights or anti-discrimination law at the state and local level. The bill also requires federal agencies to assess the costs and benefits of major regulations on state and local governments and the private sector. "State and local governments can sleep safely tonight" because the House is "about to put the threat of unfunded mandates under lock and key," Republican Representative William Clinger, who managed the bill on the House floor, said shortly before it passed. And Democratic Senator John Glenn, a chief sponsor of the bill in the Senate, characterized it as "truly landmark legislation" that will "help redefine the entire relationship between the federal government and state and local governments." The only other legislation from the "Contract with America" to reach the president's desk so far this year was the Congressional Accountability Act, which requires lawmakers to abide by the same employment laws as other Americans. Clinton signed the bill into law in January. Since January, the House has acted rapidly on pledges in the "Contract," passing regulatory reform, a balanced budget amendment, the line-item veto and a crime bill. But the Senate has moved at a far slower pace, spending a month on the balanced budget amendment, before finally rejecting it by one vote. REPUBLICANS SEND LETTER TO CLINTON ON SOMALIA Republican leaders in the House and Senate sent a letter to President Clinton March 16 urging "the immediate suspension" of peacekeeping intelligence-sharing with the United Nations except in cases in which the safety of deployed forces is at stake. The letter says the intelligence-sharing should be suspended until the administration finds out why United Nations personnel left behind in Mogadishu "an unsecured cache of sensitive U.S. intelligence materials" when they withdrew from Somalia. The intelligence materials were found by American forces covering the withdrawal. "While we understand that a detailed assessment of the nature of these intelligence materials has not been completed, it is clear from preliminary reports that the potential for the disclosure of intelligence sources and methods was significant," the legislators said. They said the "suspension should remain in effect until completion of a full investigation into the Somali incident and a subsequent thorough review and modification of existing procedures can be conducted." The Republicans said the Mogadishu incident contradicts earlier assurances by administration officials about the security of U.N. intelligence-handling, "suggesting a problem of far greater proportion and urgency than previously acknowledged." They pointed out that the matter of sharing intelligence information with United Nations elements engaged in peacekeeping operations is a "matter of ongoing discussion and debate in the Congress" as evidenced by the recent adoption by the House of the National Security Revitalization Act of 1995, 1nd the introduction of comparable legislative proposals in the Senate. NNNN .