Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) distributed a list Senate Republicans
have made of their (tentative) top ten legislative priorities
for 1997. They include: FY 1998 Budget Resolution aiming to balance
the federal budget by 2002, S. 5 Product Liability (overhaul product
liability laws), S. 6 Partial Birth Abortion, the Chemical Weapons
Ban Treaty, S. 104 Nuclear Waste (mandates construction of a temporary
nuclear waste facility at Nevada's Yucca Mountain), S. 295 TEAM
Act (amends 1935 National Labor Relations Act to make it clear
that businesses are allowed to establish management-worker groups
to address issues such as quality, productivity and safety), S
1 Education Reform (provides incentives to combat crime, drugs
and violence in public schools), S. 4 Comp Time (allows businesses
to offer hourly employees a choice between overtime pay or time
off for hours worked after 40 hours a week), Reauthorization of
ISTAE (highway project authorization) and Reauthorization of IDEA
(allows states to stop educational services to disabled children
in extreme disciplinary cases). Inhofe asked participants for
suggested changes. Among those made: delete passage of the Chemical
Weapons Treaty, add hearings on the U.S. tax structure and abuses
by the IRS, reform of the Food and Drug Administration, defund
the National Endowment of the Arts and pass tax cuts, including
a $500 per child tax credit. Contact Senator Inhofe at 202/224-4721.
Paul Weyrich of the Free Congress Foundation and Frank Gaffney
of the Center for Security Policy led a discussion about the Senate
Republican Leadership's apparent willingness to schedule a vote
on the Chemical Weapons Treaty. The treaty is opposed by many
for 1) national security reasons, 2) because major chemical weapons
made by Russia aren't covered, while ours are, and 3) because
it would permit a United Nations-style international bureaucracy
to inspect any site in the U.S. upon demand -- including U.S.
private businesses, and thus is considered to be both a threat
to the constitutional rights of U.S. citizens and a threat to
the sovereignty of the United States. "This is the kind of
stuff we would have gotten from Hugh Scott, or Howard Baker,"
said Weyrich. Referring to conservative syndicated talk host Michael
Reagan's March 17 decision to leave the Republican Party as a
protest of weak-kneed policies, Weyrich added: "If this is
going to be what is going to continue to go on, Michael Reagan
won't be the last person to leave the Republican Party."
Gaffney distributed a one page sheet "The Case Against the
Chemical Weapons Convention." Contact Paul Weyrich at 202/546-3000
or Frank Gaffney at 202/466-0515 or email@example.com
Rep. Mark Neumann (R-WI) described a new FY 1998 federal budget
proposal, the "Social Security Preservation Budget,"
which meets deficit targets without tapping into the Social Security
Trust Fund (as has been done for years). Neumann's proposed budget
would balance the budget by 2002, pay off the debt by 2023, allow
for tax cuts and require no change in the Consumer Price Index.
All this is done, said Neumann, by taking the President's budget,
removing all new Washington spending proposals, and leaving other
budget items intact. It should be possible to pass this budget,
he said, since the President has already agreed to most of it,
and would only have to agree to forgo new spending proposals in
order to balance the budget in a manner that makes Social Security
more secure. Neumann distributed a five-page analysis of his proposal,
written in a reader-friendly style. Peter Ferrara of Americans
for Tax Reform suggested that Neumann should meet with Senator
Phil Gramm (R-TX), who has a similar proposal. Contact Rep. Neumann
at 202/225-3031 or Mneumann@hr.house.gov
and Peter Ferrara at 202/785-0266 or AMTXReform@aol.com
Rep. Ernest Istook (R-OK) distributed two letters to House
Speaker Newt Gingrich signed by a total of 54 Members of Congress
on budget issues. The first addresses the problem budget-conscious
Congressmen face to either approve more federal spending or to
face government shutdown by creating a permanent continuing resolution.
The proposal is to pass a law stating that, when a federal budget
is not approved on time, the federal government can continue to
operate at a fixed percentage of the prior year's budget level.
That way, said Istook, we can "end the ridiculous pressure
to either approve spending billions of dollars more or face a
government shutdown." The second letter informs the Speaker
that its 26 signers strongly oppose any federal budget that increases
next year's total spending over this year's total spending. Last
year Congress agreed to raised federal spending by $70 billion,
and this year President Clinton wants to raise it by $60 billion.
"If we don't raise spending for three years the budget balances,"
said Istook, who urged participants to stop talking so much about
the CBO and the OMB and start talking about the need to end continual
increases in the federal budget. Contact Rep. Istook at 202/225-2132
Michael Schwartz of the House Family Caucus discussed the upcoming
vote on the Partial-Birth Abortion Act. Anticipating a presidential
veto of this ban on killing partially-born infants, advocates
of the ban are seeking to find enough members of the House and
Senate to support a veto override. Presently, Schwartz said, ban
advocates are six votes short of 2/3rds in the House and have
a total of 64 votes in the Senate. Schwartz said more lobbying
is needed. Schwartz also distributed a September 19, 1995 letter
signed by House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX) agreeing (in
his capacity as principal legislative scheduler in the House)
to a two-year phase-out of the National Endowment for the Arts.
"This is not about dirty pictures. This is about whether
or not we will ever have any kind of limited government,"
said Schwartz, who wants the Majority Leader to hold to his agreement.
Schwartz also urged talk show hosts and columnists to talk more
about this year's battle over the NEA's future. Contact Mike Schwartz
House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-OK) will present the Freedom
Works Award to the Omega Boys Club of San Francisco on Thursday,
March 20 at a press conference in room H-219 of the Capitol at
10:15 a.m. "The Omega Boys Club since its inception in 1987
has taken more than 600 kids out of gang warfare and drug dealing,
and has funded 140 inner city kids into colleges around the country,"
said Telly Lovelace, the Director of Project 21's Community Service
Project. "Rep. Armey has picked a fine example in the Omega
Boys Club of San Francisco." Mr. Lovelace is currently interviewing
community service organizations and private schools for a report
on the adverse and positive effects government has on them. Contact
Telly Lovelace at (202) 507-6398 or firstname.lastname@example.org
and Michelle Davis of Rep. Armey's office at 202/225-6007. *
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. ###