President Clinton vetoed an early bill because it contained several unrelated measures - one of which would have opened public lands to road building. He blamed Republican sponsors for withholding money from flood-ravaged states (HCN, 5/26/97).
As pressure mounted and moderate Republicans began to break rank, GOP leaders did an about-face. On June 16, both the House and Senate easily passed a clean bill that will provide $5.6 billion to 35 states.
"It's unfortunate that it had to be so sloppy and ugly," Republican Rep. Bob Livingston of Louisiana told CongressDaily. "But now, it's over."
* Greg Hanscom