CBS Evening News for Monday, Oct 17, 1977
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(Studio) House to vote on Tuesday with regard to cargo preference bill; details of bill and controversy surrounding it noted. Beneath economy arguments is highly political issue.
REPORTER: Walter Cronkite
(DC) In newspaper and television ads, maritime industry and unions argue that law would create American jobs and strengthen American security. (TV ad shown.) This is public argument; members of Congress say they've heard different one. [Representative Peter KOSTMAYER - cites conversation between self and employee of maritime union, who made reference to union's support of Representative in past. Says it was clear that union employee referred to political campaign contribution union made to Representative last year] Contribution made to Kostmayer and lobbyist who visited him noted; include lobbyist's name, Ben Mann. Maritime unions and industry admit they make political contributions to gain political influence; amts. contributed to recent House and Senator campaigns and to Carter presidential campaign, according to Common Cause, noted. Opponents of cargo preference bill say this is reason bill has been proposed. [Representative Paul McCLOSKEY - says such bill wouldn't ordinarily have been proposed. Thinks President decided to support bill solely on basis of campaign contributions from maritime unions.] Supporters of bill say that if unions and shipbuilders support cargo preference, then oil industry and United States Chamber of Commerce will oppose it strongly. [House Merchant Marine Committee chairperson John MURPHY - thirds it's ridiculous that legislature should be based on political contributions; notes opponents of bill have probably contributed 5 times as much as proponents.] Murphy can't provide specific records of opponents' contributions; public records with regard to maritime contributions to Murphy noted. At White House, it's denied political contributions are reason for bill. [President aide Stuart EIZENSTAT - says it was campaign pledge.] But Trade Ambassador Robert Strauss has sent memo to President Carter; says maritime unions felt they had administration commitment with regard to cargo preference and that other options don't meet political need. Issue of contributions will probably decrease chances of passage.
REPORTER: Robert Schakne
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