House OKs start-up funds for big civil defense plan

The House, nearing approval of a $177.1 defense authorization bill for 1983, voted to spend $108 million to begin a seven-year civil defense program that may eventually cost $4 billion.

On a 240-to-163 vote, the House defeated an attempt to delete funds President Reagan requested to carry out a civil defense plan that would have millions of Americans flee major cities if nuclear war seemed imminent. Supporters said the Soviet Union already has an effective civil defense system that would allow most of the Soviet population to survive a nuclear exchange, while, they charged, as many as 150 million Americans would be killed.

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