Bartlett hopes to press mixed-gender issue in joint committee

July 28, 1997


Staff Writer

U.S. Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett has been named to the conference committee that will work out differences between the House and Senate versions of the defense budget, his office announced Monday.

Bartlett, R-Md., who is in his fourth term representing Western Maryland, said he was named to a conference committee on spending for science programs last year. But since there was little difference between the House and Senate bills, he said the group never met.

Bartlett said he is looking forward to addressing weapons modernization, quality-of-life issues for military personnel, missile defense technology and an issue he has promoted for the last several months - mixed-gender training.


Bartlett, who has questioned the wisdom of men and women training together in the armed forces, said he would like the conference committee to combine the best features of House and Senate legislation.

Both houses call for a study of the issue, but Bartlett said the Senate dates are sooner. The House specifically requires a vote on the issue by the end of next year while the Senate does not, he said.

"That's what Congress does when they don't have the courage to act. We'll probably study this to death," Bartlett said.

On other defense issues, Bartlett said the nation is running the risk of creating a "hollow military" by diverting maintenance funds to peacekeeping missions. He said the nation has also lagged on making major weapons purchases and has not adequately invested in an anti-nuclear missile system.

"At present, we don't have the capability to stop even a single missile from coming into this country. Most people are surprised to learn that," he said.

Bartlett said he is upbeat about he upcoming negotiations, which begin this Thursday. Both houses agree on broad principles and disagree only on details, he said.

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