1983 Scorecard Vote
It is the Constitutional responsibility of the Senate not only to approve or disapprove of Presidential appointments, but to "advise" the President about such appointments as well. Some Senators who were not willing to vote against the confirmation of William Clark to replace James Watt as Interior Secretary were still concerned about the substance of Watt's disastrous environmental policies. William Clark repeatedly refused to commit himself to changing any of these policies. Therefore some Senators felt it was important to advise the President of their view that many of Watt's actions did not "conform with the express will of Congress," and that such policies should be reversed by the new Secretary of Interior.
The vote is on whether to kill the Johnston amendment, which was supported by environmentalists and expressed the "Sense of the Senate" that many of Watt's policies should be reversed. The amendment called for an end to energy leases in areas being considered by Congress for wilderness protection, the sale of millions of acres of public lands, and the intensified commercial development of wildlife refuges. The amendment advised the new Secretary to resume the purchase of park and recreational lands (which had been halted under Watt) and to lease oil, coal and other public mineral resources only "under conditions of careful environmental protection."
Hatfield motion to kill the Johnston amendment agreed to 48-42; November 17, 1983. NO is the pro-environmental vote. (Hatfield motion to table the Johnston amendment, S. Res. 277, to the fiscal 1984 Supplemental Appropriations bill, H.R. 3959.) The Reagan Administration supported the motion. Clark was confirmed and no "advice" was given to the President regarding the nomination.