The United States House of Representatives has handed President Reagan a major rebuff in his bid to send aid to the anti-Sandinista rebels.
CAPITOL HILL, WASHINGTON: JULY 28: (NBC):
SV Congress speaker Thomas O'Neill, Democrat, Massachussets
SCU O'Neill speaks (SOT)
GV & SV Representative C. William Young, Republican Florida speaks to journalist (SOT) (2 shots)
GV & SV New York Democrat representative Robert Mrazek speaks (SOT) (2 shots)
SV Democrat representative Samuel Stratton, New York speaks (SOT) (2 shots)
OFF NICARAGUAN COAST, JULY 28:
AVs U.S. aircraft carrier, USS Ranger, and jet fighter off Nicaraguan coast
MANAGUA, JULY 26: (TAVERNA):
GVs Battalions of Sandinistas march through Managua streets (3 shots)
SV Humberto Ortega, head of the army, addresses troops (3 shots)
TRANSCRIPTS (SEQUENCE 2/3/4/5):
O'NEILL: "The issue here is the fact that the President is breaking the law, and the wants to justify it and he wants to continue, we're opposed to that."
YOUNG: "We should and will stop our covert involvement with the insurgency in Nicaragua if the Nicaraguans agree to stop their involvement with the insurgency in El Salvador---it's a simple as that."
MRAZEK: "We are playing, literally, with dynamite when it comes to the lives of another generation of young Americans."
STRATTON: "Our unilateral restraint with a series of bombing halts didn't produce results in Vietnam, it simply increased the losses of our men because of that off and on procedure."
NOTE TO EDITORS: THE FIRST 1.03 OF THIS STORY HAS COMMENTARY BY NBC REPORTER ROBERT KUR AVAILABLE FOR USE IF REQUIRED.
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Background: The United States House of Representatives has handed President Reagan a major rebuff in his bid to send aid to the anti-Sandinista rebels. They voted to end covert aid for the anti-Nicaraguan guerrillas -- and unprecedented attempt by Congress to block Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operations. The vote -- which ended two days of bitter debate -- was 228 to 195. During the debate the opponents of the Reagan policy claimed the CIA operations were illegal and would threaten stability throughout the region. Supporters of the Administration's policy appealed to their colleagues to support the increased expenditure. President Reagan claims the aid is to stop the flow of arms through Nicaragua to left-wing rebels in El Salvador. He's denied the U.S. government is involved in any attempt to topple the Marxist Nicaraguan government, but says a Cuban-Nicaraguan-Soviet axis is attempting to take over El Salvador and other countries in the region by force. The Speaker in the House, Thomas 'Tip' O'Neill said the President was trying to justify the illegal course of action, but William Young said the operations would stop as soon as the Sandinistas stopped supplying arms to rebels in El Salvador. The Democratic Representative, Robert Mrazek claimed the Administration was 'playing with dynamite' and with the lives of young Americans, and Samuel Stratton said the situation was becoming another Vietnam -- a reference mae throughout the proceedings. Washington has despatched an eight ship task force, led by the U.S.S. 'Ranger' to patrol off the Nicaraguan coastline. In Nicaraguan itself, several new battalions of Sandinista troops have been on parade and army chief Humberto Ortega said although they did not expect the U.S. Marines to try and land in the country, ten new battalions were being formed to defend Managua should war break out.