1980 Scorecard Vote
H.R. 6974. Defense Department Authorizations. The vote is on the Simon amendment to remove $500 million for development of the "basing mode" of the proposed MX Missile system. To protect against a Soviet nuclear strike, the Air Force wants to put 200 MX Missiles in valleys in Nevada and Utah. Each missile would be moved continually between 4,600 shelters and 23 potential launch sites, so that no one knew their exact location at any one time and the Soviets would not know where to strike. This shell game is called the "basing mode" and would affect 25,000 miles of land, much of it de facto wilderness. There are many military doubts about the wisdom of this scheme. The missiles will be almost impossible to hide unless the whole area is off limits to the public. The missiles are designed so that they can be first strike weapons. Local ranchers and environmentalists opposed this method of basing the missiles because it meant massive withdrawals of land, boom towns, a staggering drain on the area's water resources and an end to traditional rural lifestyles. The Simon amendment prevented the Air Force from committing itself to the basing mode, but allowed work on the missiles to go forward. Rejected 152-250. May 14, 1980. YES is the correct vote.