Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) discussed a vote for overseas population control funding scheduled for February 13-14. The critical issue, he said, is whether the bill will require, in the legislation's language, "foreign non-governmental organizations receiving U.S. funds" to "agree not to violate the laws, or lobby to change the laws, of other countries with respect to abortion, or to perform abortions in those countries, except in cases of rape, incest, or where the mother's life is in danger." (This legislative language is known as the "Mexico City Policy.") Smith, who is pro-life, said pro-abortion groups already have a game plan written to go to over 100 countries with pro-life laws and try to overturn those laws with a U.S.-funded political effort. Smith and his allies are proposing that $713 million be spent on overseas population controls in FY98 with Mexico City safeguards. The Clinton Administration is strongly lobbying for 543.6 million in funding with no safeguards. The House vote is expected to be close. Smith noted that very many countries strongly resent the U.S. funding of political groups which are attempting to change their internal laws. Other participants made the point that U.S. taxpayers should not be forced to subsidize abortion, which many believe is morally wrong. Contact Rep. Smith at 202/225-3765.
Peter Ferrara of Americans for Tax Reform distributed information comparing, under various income scenarios, the amount of money retired workers would receive under Social Security compared to the amount of money they would receive if they invested their Social Security taxes in private investments receiving a 6% real return. In one such example a head of household making an average wage, with a homemaker spouse, would accumulate $1,264,428 in assets, receiving $75,865 annually in interest payments alone. This interest alone would pay almost two times as much as Social Security, Ferrara noted, while leaving almost $1.3 million for the children. Contact Peter Ferrara at 202/785-0266 or [email protected] (http://www.atr.org).
Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) discussed the Balanced Budget Amendment and the version he is introducing which would require a 2/3 Congressional vote for tax increases. Barton discussed the uphill battle the BBA is facing this year, saying that he would not promote the tax-limitation BBA if it would hurt the BBA's overall chances. He concluded "I don't see any way we are going to pass the generic [BBA] this year," so "it seems to me this year's the time [for the tax-limitation BBA]. Let's fight it on principle." Barton is seeking letters of support. Contact Rep. Barton through Andy Black at 202/225-2002, fax 202/225-3248 (http://www.House.gov/barton/welcome.html).
Rep. Ernest Istook (R-OK) made a case for Congress passing legislation early this year to set forth the total amount of the FY98 federal budget in order to get early agreement with the Administration on how much money the federal government should spend in FY98. He advised crafting a simple bill (without lots of divisive "Christmas tree" add-ons) including a total budget number and several of President Clinton's targeted tax breaks as an incentive for the President to sign it. This would reduce the likelihood of shutting down the federal government again this year, said Istook, because the argument would be over what to spend money on, not how much to spend. "It will," he said, "force us to make the tough decisions." Contact Rep. Istook via Steve Jones at 202/225-2132.
Rep. Mark Neumann (R-WI) discussed how balancing the federal budget and the Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA) would affect Social Security. He noted that, under present projections, $104 billion is slated to be taken out of the Social Security trust fund in 2002, the year the federal government is slated to reach "balance." But, Neumann said, if the Congress passes, and the President approves, a federal budget for FY98 at the same level as FY97, the government will not need to raid the Social Security Trust Fund in 2002. A discussion followed about whether or not Republicans should "call the Democrats' bluff" and exclude the Social Security Trust Fund from the BBA. Paul Weyrich of the Free Congress Foundation thought they should because doing so would cause the government to tighten its belt further than it otherwise would need to to comply with the BBA. Rep. John Shadegg (R-AZ) disagreed: "My fear is that Dick Gephardt's goal in exempting Social Security is to create a mechanism whereby we can continue to debt-fund the government." Contact Rep. Neumann at 202/225-3031 or [email protected], Paul Weyrich at 202/546-3000 or [email protected] (http://net.fcref.org), or Rep. Shadegg at 202/225-3361.
Tom Jipping of the Free Congress Foundation discussed his organization's effort to get every Republican Senator to sign "The Hatch Pledge," a pledge Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch made in a November 15, 1996 speech to the Federalist Society. The pledge reads: "Those nominees who are or will be judicial activists should not be nominated by the president or confirmed by the Senate, and I personally will do my best to see to it that they are not." Jipping urged participants to ask Senators if they have signed the pledge. Contact Tom Jipping at 202/546-3000 (http://net.fcref.org).
Rep. Ernest Istook (R-OK) reminded participants that April 1993 documents from Hillary Clinton's Health Care Task Force, obtained via lawsuit, explicitly stated the White House's backup plan should Mrs. Clinton's health care plan fail to win Congressional approval. That backup plan was, Istook said, "Kid Care" -- a plan to advocate covering small children with government-run health care and then slowly inch up the eligibility age level. It is important that Americans remember this, said Istook, as the White House is now pushing "Kid Care." Kris Ardizzone of Eagle Forum noted that very few American children don't have access to health care already, as other programs cover them. Contact Rep. Istook via Steve Jones at 202/225-2132 and Kris Ardizzone at 202/544-0353.
Peter Roff of GOPAC distributed audio tapes entitled "Redefining America: Two Visions of Modern American Citizenship" featuring Ward Connerly, President, California Civil Rights Initiative, and Professor Ken Jowitt, University of California at Berkeley. Copes of the tapes are available to the public. Contact GOPAC at 202/484-2282. *
Scoop is published by The National Center for Public Policy Research to provide information about the activities of the conservative movement. Coverage of a meeting or statement in Scoop does not imply endorsement by The National Center for Public Policy Research. Copyright 1997 The National Center for Public Policy Research. Reprints of articles in Scoop permitted provided source is credited. ###
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