Your Inside View to the Strategies and Activities
of the Conservative Movement in Washington
Issue 171 * July 10, 1997
The National Center for Public Policy Research
20 F Street NW, Suite 700 Washington, D.C. 20001
Fax (301) 498-1301
E-Mail: [email protected]
Senate Passes Amendment to Allow Education IRAs
Senator Paul Coverdell (R-GA) discussed his education amendment to the tax relief act, which received 59 Senate votes. The amendment, he said, takes the IRA concept to education, allowing parents to save funds for their children's education tax free. The funds saved by parents could be used by parents on any level of education -- primary, secondary or college -- and on public, private or home-based education. During debate on the measure, Coverdell said, Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) complained that this measure helps to subsidize private schools. Coverdell reminded him that the subsidy would be coming from the parents' own money. The cost to the treasury of implementing this legislation would be $1 billion over 5 years, which Coverdell proposed to pay for with a delay in changes to the alternative minimum tax. Coverdell urged supporters of his amendment to contact the Congressional leadership to express their support. Contact Senator Coverdell at 202/224-3643.
Clinton Administration Sends Supercomputers to China: Advanced Computers May Be Used to Build Nukes
Mitch Kugler of the staff of the Senate Subcommittee on International Security delivered a presentation on the Clinton Administration's regulation, -- or, rather, non-regulation -- of supercomputers exported out of the United States. While running for president, Kugler said, Clinton promised Silicon Valley executives that, if elected, he would loosen export controls on supercomputers. Once elected, he did so (on October 6, 1995). The result is that supercomputer manufacturers exporting supercomputers capable of up to 7,000 MTOPS (Millions of Theoretical Operations Per Second) to so-called "Tier 3" nations (which includes the PRC and Russia) do not need an export license if they self-certify that the end-user of the equipment is civilian.
Concluding that this policy is not working, Senators Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Dick Durbin (R-IL) have introduced an amendment to the FY98 National Defense Authorization Act to require the Executive Branch to regulate the export of all supercomputers to "Tier 3" nations. The Senators explain their reasoning in a June 26 "Dear Colleague" letter: "The current policy is not working, as events subsequent to its implementation demonstrate. We know that at least five American supercomputers are in the hands of Russia's Ministry of Atomic Energy at its Chelyabinsk-70 and Arzamas-16 nuclear design labs. According to the Russian Minister of Atomic Energy, these computers are '10 times faster than any previously available in Russia,' and will be used to simulate nuclear explosions. At least one of the 47 high performance computers exported to the People's Republic of China is in the Chinese Academy of Sciences, an organization that is a key participant in Chinese military research and development, working on everything from the DF-5 ICBM -- which is capable of reaching the United States -- to uranium enrichment for nuclear weapons."
Kugler reported that the Clinton Administration opposes the Cochran-Durbin Amendment, as does the #2 Republican in the Senate, Don Nickles (R-OK), who is supporting an alternative being promoted by Senators Rod Grams (R-MN) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA), to simply study the issue. Jack Kemp has come out against Cochran-Durbin as well, Kugler said. Kugler said that the computer industry is ardently lobbying the Hill against Cochran-Durbin, with some saying that if the U.S. doesn't sell supercomputers for (ultimately) the Russian and Chinese military applications, the Japanese will. This is false, Kugler said, because Japan actually has much tougher export controls than does the United States.
Contact Mitch Kugler at 202/224-2254.
Senate Business Reviewed
Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) reviewed pending business in the U.S. Senate, including:
Proposed EPA Regulations: Calling the proposed EPA air standard regulations "absolutely devastating" if approved, Inhofe noted that the EPA will publish the new rule on July 21. Under the terms of the Congressional Review Act, this gives the Congress sixty legislative days, or until approximately January 10, to block their implementation. Inhofe called the coalition formed to block the new regulations "great," saying that it consists of Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) and many other Democrats, labor unions and others who don't often work with Republicans, and, of course, Republicans. Inhofe also mentioned other potential strategies for blocking the regulations, including free-standing legislation and influencing the EPA through the appropriations process. Inhofe concluded by noting that if the regulations are approved, EPA Administrator Carol Browner will have the ability to hire "thousands and thousands" of new environmental inspectors, which, he said, will cost a lot of money.
Louisiana Senate Campaign Fraud: Complimenting Senator John Warner (R-VA) for doing a great job investigating allegations of campaign and vote fraud in the 1996 Louisiana Senate race, Inhofe added: "A great disservice has be done to the cause of proper elections by what is going on in Louisiana."
Contact Senator Inhofe at 202/224-4721.
Nearly 300 Democrat Elected Officials Have Switched to GOP
Peter Roff of GOPAC announced that nearly 300 Democrat elected officials have switched to the Republican Party since the election of Clinton and Gore. Roff distributed copies of "Right Moves: The Party Switches and Special Election Pick Up Newsletter," published by GOPAC to chronicle these switches. Contact Peter Roff at 202/484-2282 or visit the GOPAC web site at www.gopac.com.
EPA's Browner a "Director of Propaganda?"
Doug Bandow, a columnist with Copley News Service, is taking EPA Administrator Carol Browner head-on. In a new piece, "Carol Browner: EPA Administrator -- And Director of Propaganda," Bandow accuses Browner of holding a "sham" public comment period for the new clean air proposals. He is also critical of Browner's use of taxpayer dollars, saying Browner has used tax money to lobby Congress and has diverted tax dollars to political groups to build support for her proposals, though he says "In an administration utterly unconcerned with appearance, ethics, or legality, the EPA's misuse of taxpayer dollars to lobby for its proposed rules comes as no surprise."
Bandow saves his biggest criticism for the new rules themselves.
Saying that the Council of Economic Advisors estimately that the
new rules will cost upwards of $50 billion annually, Bandow notes
that "Part of the EPA's emotional sales pitch has been that
the new regulations will protect asthmatics. But of roughly 14,700
annual asthmatic hospital admissions in the New York City region,
14,610 will occur even after implementing the new ozone controls."
He adds "Demanding unreasonable emission cits is unhealthy
as well as expensive, because wasting money on regulations of
marginal benefit diverts resources from a variety of product and
technological advances, like pharmaceuticals, that would yield
far greater benefits." Contact Doug Bandow at 703/451-9169.