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DATE=3/18/99 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT NUMBER=2-246854 TITLE=CONGRESS-MISSILE DEFENSE (L) BYLINE=PAULA WOLFSON DATELINE=CAPITOL HILL CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: THE U-S HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES HAS JOINED THE SENATE IN ENDORSING DEPLOYMENT OF A MISSILE DEFENSE SYSTEM (BY A VOTE OF 317 TO 105). MANY DEMOCRATS STOOD WITH REPUBLICANS IN A SHOW OF SUPPORT FOR THE LEGISLATION. BUT AS V-O-A'S PAULA WOLFSON REPORTS, THERE WERE ALSO VOICES RAISED IN DISSENT. TEXT: IT IS ONE OF THE SHORTEST BILLS EVER BROUGHT BEFORE CONGRESS. THE FIFTEEN WORD HOUSE RESOLUTION SAYS SIMPLY THAT IT IS THE POLICY OF THE UNITED STATES TO DEPLOY A MISSILE DEFENSE. REPUBLICANS -- LIKE NEBRASKA'S DOUG BEREUTER (BEE'-WRITER) -- SAY DEPLOYMENT IS LONG OVERDUE. ///BEREAUTER ACT/// THE THREATS FROM A LIMITED MISSILE ATTACK ARE HERE NOW...VERY REAL...AND POTENTIALLY VERY DISASTROUS FOR OUR CITIZENS WHO ARE RIGHT NOW UNDEFENDED AGAINST THIS THREAT. ///END ACT/// CREATION OF AN ANTI-MISSILE SHIELD HAS LONG BEEN A REPUBLICAN PRIORITY. BUT FOR MANY YEARS, DEMOCRATS STOOD UNITED IN OPPOSITION. NOW, THAT UNITY IS STARTING TO CRACK. DEMOCRATS LINING UP BEHIND THE BILL CITE THE 1998 FINDINGS OF A SPECIAL COMMISSION SET UP BY CONGRESS TO STUDY THE NATURE OF THE NUCLEAR THREAT FACING THE UNITED STATES. THE COMMISSION FOUND THE RISK OF NUCLEAR ATTACK -- ACCIDENTAL OR DELIBERATE -- IS RISING MUCH FASTER THAN PREVIOUSLY THOUGHT. ALABAMA DEMOCRAT BUD CRAMER SAYS HE BELIEVES IN THE COMMISSION'S FINDINGS. HE SPENT LAST WEEKEND TRYING TO CONVINCE MEMBERS OF THE RUSSIAN PARLIAMENT.....AND THEN TOOK HIS CASE TO THE HOUSE CHAMBER. /// CRAMER ACT/// TO VOTE FOR DEPLOYMENT IS TO BEGIN TO PROTECT THE SHORES OF THIS COUNTRY FROM MISSILE THREATS FROM ROGUE NATIONS. IT IS OUR RESPONSIBILITY TO DO SO. ///END ACT/// BUT NOT ALL THE HOUSE DEMOCRATS BACKED THE BILL. IN FACT, THE VOTES OF PARTY MEMBERS WERE EVENLY SPLIT FOR AND AGAINST THE LEGISLATION. MANY ARGUED AGAINST SPENDING BILLIONS ON UNTESTED TECHNOLOGY. OTHERS WARNED ABOUT RE-IGNITING AN INTERNATIONAL ARMS RACE. GEORGIA'S JOHN LEWIS OFFERED AN EMOTIONAL APPEAL. ///LEWIS ACT/// I URGE MY COLLEAGUES, DO NOT CHOOSE BULLETS OVER BABIES, BOMBS OVER BOOKS, MISSILES OVER MEDICINE. ///END ACT/// CRITICS OF THE BILL ALSO STRESSED IT WOULD VIOLATE THE TERMS OF THE 1972 ANTI-BALLISTIC MISSILE TREATY, WHICH LIMITS THE KIND OF MISSILE DEFENSE THAT CAN BE DEPLOYED BY THE UNITED STATES AND RUSSIA. MINDFUL OF THOSE CONCERNS, THE SENATE AMENDED THE BILL TO REAFFIRM AMERICA'S COMMITMENT TO ARMS CONTROL. THE ARMS CONTROL LANGUAGE IS NOT IN THE HOUSE VERSION. BUT IT IS EXPECTED TO PREVAIL WHEN A FINAL COMPROMISE PIECE OF LEGISLATION IS SENT TO THE WHITE HOUSE FOR THE PRESIDENT'S SIGNATURE. (SIGNED) NEB/PW/JO 18-Mar-99 6:05 PM EST (2305 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .