News Briefs II
House Funds Arms-to-Bosnia ProbeLos Angeles Times
After a rancorous partisan debate that spilled over from a committee hearing room to the House floor, Republican leaders pushed ahead Wednesday with their investigation into President Clinton's secret decision to allow Iran to ship arms to Bosnia.
In a party-line vote of 224-187, the House approved spending $995,000 for an eight-member special committee to conduct a six-month investigation into Clinton's Iranian arms policy.
Democrats labeled the action a waste of money and an election-year gimmick to embarrass Clinton. They noted that the committee, which will have five Republican and three Democratic members, is scheduled to issue a final report just one week before the presidential election in November.
Several Democrats argued that the House already has three existing committees conducting investigations of the policy, and that the creation of a fourth with an expensive outside staff is simply designed to drag out the investigation to pound away at Clinton's foreign policy record during the campaign.
Senate Panel Keeps NEA FundsThe Washington Post
After delivering a friendly warning that the National Endowment for the Arts budget for next year would most likely remain flat, both Republican and Democratic senators said Wednesday at a hearing on the agency that they approved of the reforms it had undertaken.
"The changes are steps in the right direction," said Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., a member of the Appropriations subcommittee that oversees the NEA's funding.
In her annual review, Chairman Jane Alexander told the committee the agency is processing one-fourth as many applications as in the past, is making fewer and smaller grants, and is searching for supplemental funds from the private sector. In addition, she said, the agency has overhauled its grant-making structure and eliminated some funding categories.
Andrews Refuses Tony NominationNewsday
In a dramatic, emotional post-performance speech, Julie Andrews Wednesday refused the Tony nomination she received for best actress in a musical - the sole nod given to her show, "Victor/Victoria," by the nominating committee when the selections were announced Monday.
"I have searched my conscience and my heart and find that I cannot accept the nomination," Andrews told a packed audience at the curtain call of the matinee performance, adding that she preferred to stand instead with the cast and creative team that in her opinion had been so "egregiously overlooked."
Ever since the nominations were announced Monday, a storm had been brewing over the selection of two musicals, "Chronicle of a Death Foretold" and "Swinging on a Star," over the more commercial hits "Big" and "Victor/Victoria."