Political File

News, notes and anecdotes
on government and politics

Monday, March 22, 1999

Mink bucks
Dem party line
on missiles

WASHINGTON -- Hawaii's usually unified all-Democratic congressional delegation displayed a rare crack last week when Rep. Patsy Mink voted against committing the United States to a nationwide missile-defense system.

The rest of the delegation, including Sen. Daniel Inouye, who sponsored the legislation in the Senate, Sen. Daniel Akaka and Rep. Neil Abercrombie, a co-sponsor of the House bill, have been occasionally outspoken in their support of such a system. All voted for it last week, and all have pointed to Hawaii's proximity to nations that are working on missile programs as their rationale.

But Mink was one of the few naysayers when the missile bill passed the House on a 317-105 vote. Mink did not return telephone calls to explain her vote. But opponents criticized a missile defense system as costly, technologically questionable and a possible violation of arms control treaties.

THE GREAT UNBUNDLER? WASHINGTON -- Rep. Neil Abercrombie has been hailed as a champion anti-bundler.

The Honolulu Democrat was recently honored by the Hawaii Movers Association and the Household Goods Forwarders Association of America for efforts to stop contract bundling.

The Department of Defense regularly "bundles" several small jobs -- household moves, for example -- into one large contract, which freezes out small businesses. Abercrombie has sponsored bills aimed at discouraging the practice.

By Star-Bulletin staff

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