JULY 15, 1999
By a 32-23 vote, the House Appropriations Committee adopted a "killer amendment" offered by Congresswoman Anne Northup (R-KY) to delete subcommittee-approved language that would have authorized the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) to include underage-drinking prevention messages in its national youth anti-drug media campaign. The subcommittee bill had been co-sponsored by representatives Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) and Frank Wolf (R-VA).
The vote divided largely along party lines, although there were some significant exceptions. Eight of the thirty-four Republicans on the Committee voted to allow the inclusion of alcohol-prevention messages: co-sponsor Frank Wolf (VA), Appropriations Committee Chairman Bill Young (FL), Robert Aderholt (AL), Jay Dickey (AR), Michael Forbes (NY), David Hobson (OH), Ron Packard (CA), Ralph Regula (OH), and Zack Wamp (TN). Nine of the committee's twenty-seven Democrats voted with Northup to reject ONDCP authority to discourage underage drinking in its media campaign. Those Democrats included the ranking (Senior) Democrat on the Committee, David Obey (WI), as well as Allen Boyd (FL), Jim Clyburn (SC), Robert Cramer (AL), Chet Edwards (TX), Sam Farr (CA), Ed Pastor (AZ), David Price (NC), and Pete Visclosky (IN).
Seven of the committee's top eight recipients of alcohol-industry political contributions (see report) voted to keep ONDCP from addressing underage-drinking prevention; the exception being Congressman Michael Forbes. In addition to heavy lobbying by the National Beer Wholesalers Association, opposition to including underage-drinking prevention in the media campaign from ONDCP Director, General Barry McCaffrey, and the Partnership for a Drug Free America was instrumental in the defeat of the Roybal-Allard/Wolf language.
This vote (to find out how each member of the committee voted, click here) marks the defeat of the coalition efforts to have an underage-drinking-prevention effort administered by ONDCP -- at least during this session of Congress. However, it may still be possible to create an underage-drinking prevention media campaign that is separate from ONDCP this year. We expect to continue efforts in the next session of Congress to establish a media program to discourage underage drinking.