Oral Histories and Interviews: Fenno - William H. Milliken
Access to this interview is subject to the deed of gift of December 14, 1993.
Interview with Rep. William R. Milliken (R-PA)
He was an old man and not very sharp. His office was nearly empty. He picked up the vacancy left by Ivor D. Fenton (R-PA). He said he put in for it--a self-starter. Was there competition in the Pennsylvania delegation? "It didn't seem as though there was." Appropriations Committee ranking minority member John Taber (R-NY) was the key, "I spoke to the chairman, and he interviewed me. I went down to his office and told him my whole history and background." He had been on the appropriations committee in the Pennsylvania State Legislature.
His pitch was, "Spending has gotten way out of hand, especially public power and reclamation. I'm against public power. I'm against the government getting into any business. I'm in favor of the free enterprise system, as I call it."
He was issue-oriented. He wants to keep spending at a decent level. He was the mayor of Sharon Hill, a Philadelphia suburb. I went through the routine questions with him, and he shed no additional light on anything.
"The Republican committee of --- county saw fit not to support me for reelection. So just as I was getting established with some seniority on the Committee--and Public Works is one of the most important subcommittees--just as I'm getting where I can help, I'm out."
There was no light on his subcommittee assignment. He thought that he got it because Fenton has had it.
He was a weak man. He votes for every cut. He thought the present Appropriations Committee ranking minority member, Ben F. Jensen (R-IA), was too favorable to public works, and he interpreted public works votes in terms of constituency. "It depends on where a man sits how he votes--what area he comes from."