WASHINGTON (May. 6)
Continued absence of final action by President Ford on the foreign military aid authorization bill for the current fiscal year has given rise to speculation that a compromise is being attempted between the White House and its Congressional backers, but no tangible sign to this effect was visible today.
The White House, which reiterated that the President’s intention is to veto the bill because he contends it inhibits his powers in foreign affairs, pointedly observed he has until midnight, Tuesday, May 11 to act.
Senatorial sources favoring a tie between U.S. aid and observance of human rights and anti-terrorism and would put limits on U.S. sales of arms said the authorization and the appropriation bills to carry out the aid program stand on their own merits. These sources said that if Ford vetoes the bill with those provisions, they will seek to incorporate them in the 1977 fiscal year legislation now before both Houses of Congress.
Senators Clifford Case (R.NJ), Jacob K. Javits (R.NY) and Hubert H. Humphrey (D.Minn.), who had asked to see the President before he acts on the authorization bill, have not yet received a response to their request. The White House has indicated no meeting will be held since the President is familiar with their views. Senate sources indicated that the additional aid for Israel in the transitional quarter between the current and new fiscal years is merited on the basis of new studies on Israel’s defense needs.
The President received the authorization bill April 30. He has 10 days in which to act on it, Sundays not counted. If he fails to act at the end of 10 days, the bill automatically becomes law. The 1976 appropriations measure is still pending in Congress.