WASHINGTON -- The House rejected yesterday a Republican effort led by Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett of Maryland to embarrass the White House by cutting its budget by $13,129.66, the cost of a recent golf outing by several aides who used a presidential helicopter.
The proposal offered by Mr. Bartlett reflected the reported costof the helicopter trip May 24 to the Holly Hills Country Club near New Market, in Mr. Bartlett's district. His proposal was defeated by a mostly party-line vote of 236-195.
A high-ranking White House aide, David Watkins, the chief of management and administration, was forced to resign his $125,000-a-year job after a newspaper printed a photograph that showed Mr. Watkins and two other aides about to board a presidential helicopter after playing golf at Holly Hills. Mr. Watkins, a longtime friend of President Clinton's, agreed to reimburse the White House for the cost of the trip.
Mr. Bartlett said he introduced his proposal to try to force the White House to provide a list of presidential helicopter flights taken by other White House officials. Under his proposal, he said, any money cut from the White House budget would have been reinstated once the complete travel records were made public.
"This will remain an issue," Mr. Bartlett said yesterday. "It will continue to embarrass the White House until the information is given."
The White House released an abbreviated log of flights that Mr. Bartlett said listed the golf outing as merely a trip from Anacostia to Camp David. "You would have had no idea that the helicopter landed"at the golf course, Mr. Bartlett said.
But Mr. Bartlett said the money that Mr. Watkins had agreed to pay did not include the cost of sending two firetrucks, "or crash trucks," from Fort Detrick that were dispatched to the country club -- at a cost of $250 -- "as is always the case when a president is on board the chopper."
The White House now requires officials to obtain high-level approval before using military aircraft.