Your Inside View to the Strategies and Activities of the Conservative Movement in Washington

Issue 160 * April 23, 1997

The National Center for Public Policy Research
Amy Moritz Ridenour, President
300 Eye Street N.E. Suite 3 * Washington, D.C. 20001
(202) 507-6398 * Fax (301) 498-1301
E-Mail: [email protected]

Activities at the April 23, 16 and 9 Wednesday Strategy Lunches chaired by Paul Weyrich of the Free Congress Foundation, House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-TX) and Rep. Ernest Istook (R-OK).

CWC Vote is Imminent: Will Trent Lott Stand with Conservatives or With Clinton?

Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), Frank Gaffney of the Senator for Security Policy, Paul Weyrich of the Free Congress Foundation and numerous others discussed the Chemical Weapons Convention, which is scheduled for a ratification vote on Thursday, April 24. A prime topic of concern was the stance of Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS), who reportedly understands the reasons why the treaty is not in America's interests but who also fears that the Democrats will tar the Republicans as the pro-chemical war party if the Senate rejects it. Said Weyrich: "[If Lott supports this treaty] he will earn the temporary favor of the Washington Post... but he will not become president of the United States on the backs of conservatives as he did to become Majority Leader and Majority Whip... If it's true that he's supporting this, he can kiss goodbye his presidential ambitions." A problem, said Weyrich, isthat Lott apparently doesn't see it that way: "[Conservatives] are viewed by that leadership as paper tigers who have no ability to inflict any [political] damage. The attitude is: So what if they're upset. What are they going to do about it?" Speaking on April 23 Senator Inhofe said that "he can't believe" Lott is going to support the CWC, but noted that he has been out of town and is basing is opinion mostly on his "belief in humankind." An up-to-date list of undecided Senators on the CWC was distributed. Senators listed (all Republicans) were: Trent Lott (MS), Don Nickles (OK), Spence Abraham (MI), Kit Bond (MO), Sam Brownback (KS), Dan Coats (IN), Thad Cochran (MS), Mike DeWine (OH), Pete Domenici (NM), Bill Frist (TN), Chuck Grassley (IA), Judd Gregg (NH), Orrin Hatch (UT), Kay Bailey Hutchison (TX), Dirk Kempthorne (ID), Frank Murkowski (AK), Pat Roberts (KS), Rick Santorum (PA), Jeff Sessions (AL), Gordon Smith (OR), Fred Thompson (TN) and John Warner (VA). Contact Paul Weyrich at 202/546-3000, Frank Gaffney at 202/466-0515 or [email protected] ( and Senator Inhofe at 202/224-4721.

Where Have the Tax Cuts Gone? Senator Gramm Explains

Senator Phil Gramm (R-TX) discussed continuing efforts to balance the federal budget. He noted that, in real dollars, defense spending is down by 27% since 1987 but entitlement spending is up 32% and discretionary spending is up 24%. He addressed the problems faced by advocates of tax cuts, saying that President Clinton is proposing to spend $156 billion more than last year's GOP-approved budget and $119 more than his last budget in 1996: "Clinton has proposed spending our tax cut." Gramm noted that a budget can be written that would balance the budget and allow for $140 billion in tax cuts by taking the lowest numbers in the President's budgets in the last two years. Last year, said Gramm, the president was good on discretionary spending, and this year he's good on Medicare. The Senator distributed 5 pages of charts including a) discretionary spending in constant dollars from 1981-1997, b) a comparison of 1987 and 1996 federal outlays, c) increases in non-defense discretionary spending from 1996-1998. Contact Senator Gramm at 202/224-2934.

Key Congressman Proposes Strategy on Legal Services

Rep. George Gekas (R-PA) discussed strategies for ending continued federal funding of the unauthorized Legal Services Corporation. He recapped events from the 104th Congress and suggested a strategy that would replace the LSC with "grants to states for the provision of quality legal services." He goal, Gekas said, is to design a policy that provides legal services to the poor, "not for class actions, not for redistricting cases, not for alien prisoners." Contact Rep. Gekas at 202/225-4315.

Legislation Would Help Workers Receive Time Off

Senator John Ashcroft (R-MO) reviewed S. 4, the Family Friendly Workplace Act. The act is designed to give workers the flexibility to voluntarily take time off instead of overtime pay. Contact Senator Ashcroft at 202/224-6154.

DeLay Explains Goals, Plans of Judicial Activism Project

House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-TX) discussed efforts in the U.S. House to curtail judicial activism. He noted that an education effort on the goals of such a project, the history of judicial impeachment and the U.S. Constitution are a key early priority in this effort. Contact Rep. DeLay via Susan Hirshmann at 202/225-0197.

Key Groups Endorse Religious Freedom Amendment

Rep. Ernest Istook (R-OK) announced that, following meetings, the Southern Baptist Convention and Traditional Values Coalition have endorsed the Religious Freedom Constitutional Amendment. Istook plans to file the amendment in Congress next week, and presently has almost 80 co-sponsors. Responding to a question about whether or not this amendment can pass, Istook replied that the amendment is sound policy and also cited political consultant Dick Morris's view, as written in his book, that this issue helps the GOP. The amendment reads: "To secure the people's right to acknowledge God according to the dictates of conscience: The people's right to pray and to recognize their religious beliefs, heritage or traditions on public property, including schools, shall not be infringed. The government shall not require any person to join in prayer or other religious activity, initiate or designate school prayers, discriminate against religion, or deny a benefit due to religion." Contact Rep. Istook at 202/225-2132.

Senators Feingold and Kohl Face Recall Effort

Rep. Mark Neumann (R-WI) updated participants on the recall petitions being circulated in Wisconsin on Senators Russ Feingold and Herb Kohl, both Democrats, because of the Senators' stance favoring partial birth abortion. The group organizing the recall petitions is called First Breath Alliance. 390,000 signatures must be obtained from Wisconsin voters to force a recall election. According to First Breath Alliance, they already have over 3,000 volunteers working to solicit signatures from the public. Contact Rep. Neumann at 202/225-3031 or contact First Breath directly at 414/241-9806.

Hagel Explains Need for a Clearly Articulated Message

Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) discussed his philosophy as a Senator, including the importance of articulating one's beliefs to the public. People may not always agree with you, he said, but if we present this clearly, and civilly, there is a lot that can be done to benefit the American public. Contact Senator Hagel at 202/224-4224. *

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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