Your Inside View to the Strategies and Activities
of the Conservative Movement in Washington
Issue 172 * July 31, 1997
The National Center for Public Policy Research
20 F Street NW, Suite 700 Washington, D.C. 20001
Fax (301) 498-1301
*Coverdell Amendment Sold
for a Piece of Paper
* Clinton Says Concerns of Families Shouldn't Be Considered; New Bill Says They Should
* New Civil Rights Act Distributed
* CBS Doesn't Rule the World
* Fifty Little NEAs?
* Benefits of Passing a Clean CR Discussed
* Agricultural States to Be Hit by EPA
Activities at the July 30, 23 & 16 Strategy Lunches chaired by Paul Weyrich of the Free Congress Foundation and Rep. Ernest Istook (R-OK).
Coverdell Amendment Sold for a Piece of Paper
Senator Larry Craig (R-ID) solicited participants' opinions on the tax agreement: No one supported it. The group then discussed the fact that President Clinton broke his word about the agreement. Specifically, the President reached an agreement with the Congress, the agreement was announced, and then the President said that he would veto the bill if the Coverdell Education Amendment remained in it (The Coverdell Amendment 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.). Senator Craig explained that Senator Lott told the White House that Republican leaders would go along if President Clinton put his veto threat in writing, which President Clinton did. As a member of the Senate leadership, he said, he knew the Coverdell Amendment was doomed by July 28. Representatives of family groups present made two complaints: 1) Republican leaders got nothing in exchange for this concession; and 2) Senator Lott had told them the previous day, July 29, that the Coverdell Amendment would remain in the bill. Senator Craig replied that Republican leaders did get something from the White House: President Clinton's opposition to the Coverdell Amendment in writing. He also expressed skepticism that family groups would have been told that the Coverdell Amendment was safe as late as July 29, but faced with several individuals who swore it was true, left the matter for Senator Lott to explain. Craig asked participants to consider the good things in the tax package, most particularly, the $500-per-child tax credit, and said "I believe this is a very pro-family tax package." Contact Senator Craig at 202/2224-2752 and Marty Dannenfelser of the Family Research Council at 202/393-2100, Andrea Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition at 202/547-8570, Kris Ardizzone of Eagle Forum at 202/544-0353 and Heidi Stirrup of the Christian Coalition at 202/547-3600.
Clinton Says Concerns of Families Shouldn't Be Considered; New Bill Says They Should
Senator Spence Abraham (R-MI) discussed S. 891, his bill to direct the Executive Branch to assess the impact of federal regulations on families. (Following an Executive Order from President Reagan, the government has done so for the last decade, but President Clinton signed an Executive Order abolishing the practice earlier this year. The President's Executive Order received no mainstream press attention, but it ended an important incentive for government regulators to consider the affects of regulations they design on families before new regulations are implemented.) Abraham gave several examples of regulations that would benefit from this consideration, for instance, federal Food and Drug Administration rules that have placed home drug test kits in the same classification as pacemakers, making it as difficult for parents to give their child a home drug test as it would be for them to acquire a pacemaker without a doctor's assistance. He also noted that regulations requiring that a six-year-old be expelled from public school for sexual harassment for kissing a classmate would have been modified had the regulators considered in advance the sometimes special circumstances of children. He gave other examples. Abraham is currently seeking co-sponsors. Contact Brandy in Senator Abraham's office at 202/224-4822.
New Civil Rights Act Distributed
Rep. Charles Canady (R-FL) distributed copies of and commented upon HR 1909, the Civil Rights Act of 1997. The Act is designed to bring the federal government into compliance with the Constitution's equal protection clause and to ensure that the federal government treats all people equally, without regard to their race or sex. The bill has two main provisions: 1) It prohibits the federal government from discriminating against, or granting preferences to, individuals based in whole or in part on race, color, national origin, or sex, in conjunction with federal contracts, employment, or other programs or activities. 2) It prohibits the federal government from requiring or encouraging federal contractors, subcontractors, licensees, or recipients of federal assistance, to discriminate, or grant preferences to individuals on the basis of their race, color, national origin or sex. The bill contains some exceptions, such as outreach (the traditional form of affirmative action), historically-black colleges and universities, Indian Tribes, and sex-based bona fide occupational qualifications that are already exempt under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act or applied in the Armed Forces. Contact Rob Corey of the House Judiciary Committee Constitution Subcommittee at 202/226-7680.
CBS Doesn't Rule the World
Paul Weyrich raised the issue of a mindset he believes the Congressional leadership needs to get rid of: that of assuming that the only way they can reach the American people is through the mainstream media. "Twenty years ago we had a problem if CBS News did not cover us," Weyrich said, but today "we have communication vehicles. It was far worse when I came [to Washington]." Weyrich said that half of the American public could be reached effectively through talk radio, Fox, NET and the communication networks of sympathetic organizations, but that the Congressional leadership has failed to adequately use these opportunities. Senator Larry Craig agreed: "I hear you. A majority of the Congress doesn't hear you." Craig described some of his own efforts, involving a core team of four Senators and 50 Senate staffers, to improve Senators' use of these opportunities. Contact Paul Weyrich at 202/546-3000.
Fifty Little NEAs?
Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN) discussed the House's vote to provide only enough funding for the National Endowment for the Arts to shut it down, and the likelihood that the Senate will undo the House's good work. Souder was asked what he thought of block-granting arts funding to the states, as it may be possible (although this is not likely) to get the Senate to go along with this as a substitute for the NEA. Souder pointed out several problems with this idea, including "Why take the states' money in order to send it back?" He also said this proposal would "guarantee" more tax dollars spent on arts projects because it would set up 50 state agencies to lobby for more arts funding, instead of the one federal agency we have now. Souder also questioned why taxpayers should have to pay for projects they don't want. Aside from the issue of funding pornographic art, he said, is the fact that many of the projects the taxpayers have funded are not understandable to anyone but the artist. "If no one but the artist can understand it," he asked, "why are we paying for it?" Contact Rep. Souder at 202/225-4436 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Benefits of Passing a Clean CR Discussed
Rep. John Shadegg (R-AZ) discussed the benefits of having an up or down vote on a clean continuing resolution to keep government spending at the current level if the President does not sign the appropriate spending bills before the end of the fiscal year. Contact Rep. Shadegg at 202/225-3361 or email@example.com.
Agricultural States to Be Hit by EPA
Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) reviewed pending legislation to block the EPA's new air quality standards, specifically, the bill he and Senator John Breaux (D-LA) have introduced in the Senate, S. 1084, and HR 1985 in the House. He also discussed the great damage these new EPA regulations would do in agricultural states, and said that he hopes to receive the support of Democratic legislators from agricultural areas. Contact Senator Inhofe at 202/224-4721.