Activities at the SeptemberWednesday Strategy
Lunches chaired by Paul Weyrich of the Free Congress Foundation,
House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-TX) and Rep. Ernest Istook (R-OK).
Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) discussed S. 474, the "Internet Gambling Prohibition Act of 1997." Kyl discussed the problem of gambling addiction and how his bill would allow federal, state, and local law enforcement officials to require both telephone company and Internet service providers to cut access to Internet sites offering gambling services that are illegal in those areas served by the phone company or Internet service provider. Many of the sites offering gambling are located outside the United States, Kyl said. Contact Vincent Sollitto of Senator Kyl's office at 202/224-4521.
Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) blasted the Clinton Administration's policy stating that senior citizens have no right to buy health care privately. "The mere fact," said Kyl, "that you turn 65 doesn't end your right to contract privately with a doctor, as long as you don't bill Medicare." Kyl distributed a September 16 Washington Times op/ed by former Delaware Governor Pete DuPont explaining the Administration's policy. Contact Senator Kyl at 202/224-4521.
John Fraser of the National Rifle Association discussed efforts to reform civil asset forfeiture laws, distributing both a memorandum written by reform advocate Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA) about the present Congressional debate over reform and copies of a pro and con debate about these laws appearing in the Federalist Society's Criminal Law and Procedure News. In the Federalist Society publication civil asset forfeiture opponent Roger Pilon describes the issue thusly: "Under forfeiture, law enforcement officials can seize 'guilty property' almost at will. Originating in the Old Testament and the medieval doctrine of 'deodands' -- in the idea that animals and even inanimate objects involved in wrongdoing could be sacrificed in atonement or forfeited to the crown -- modern forfeiture law earned its credentials through early American admiralty and customs law, enduring and expanding thereafter with little restraint... Police and prosecutors love forfeiture as a 'tool of the trade' and a source of vast revenues that directly enrich their coffers. Victims of all kinds, especially innocent victims, are left reeling in the wake." Paul Weyrich commented: "It alarms me how many of these personal liberty issues are being sacrificed in the name of law enforcement. I'm no libertarian, but I'm being driven into that corner, because we are getting into a situation where the government has all the rights and we have none of them." Contact John Fraser at 202/651-2560 or Paul Weyrich at 202/546-3000.
Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), a former federal judge, discussed President Clinton's sometimes radical nominees for the federal bench. Saying "I think we have a very real responsibility... to identify those nominees we think are going to be particularly activist," Senator Sessions noted that approximately 60 judicial nomination confirmations are pending. Many of these, he said, have just been submitted and thus have not yet been evaluated. President Clinton, he observed, isn't really looking for fights over some of these nominations because he does not want the public to know about some of his more unsupportable nominations, such his nomination of one candidate who has never practiced law and who supports legalizing drugs and ending the death penalty. Contact Senator Sessions at 202/224-4124.
Rep. Steve Largent (R-OK) discussed his Tax Code Termination Act (HR 2490). "The key feature of the Act is that it sets a date-certain for the elimination of the current tax code, and by doing so, requires Congress and the American people to begin the national debate on how to replace it," said Largent. Contact Terry Allen in Rep. Largent's office at 202/225-2211.
Rep. Jerry Weller (R-IL) discussed HR 2456, the "Marriage Penalty Elimination Act," which he is sponsoring with Rep. David McIntosh (R-IN). The bill, which as 177 original co-sponsors, is designed to aid the 21 million Americans who suffer an average marriage tax penalty of $1,400. Contact Rep. Weller at 202/225-3635.
Sen. John Ashcroft (R-MO) urged activists to put pressure on their Senators to oppose federal testing of students, which Ashcroft said will make parents "irrelevant" to education transferring curriculum control from local communities where parents have an influence to Washington where bureaucrats at the Department of Education dominate. Contact Sen. Ashcroft at 202/224-3121.
Jim Lucier of Americans for Tax Reform updated activists on the Security and Freedom through Encryption (SAFE) Act (HR 695), now being considered in the House Commerce Committee. Specifically, Lucier urged the defeat of the "Oxley-Manton" amendment, which would give the IRS sweeping new powers to snoop around citizens' computer records and data transferred on the internet by limiting encryption options available to American citizens. Contact Jim Lucier at 202/785-0266.
Rep. Ernest Istook (R-OK) discussed the defeat of his amendment to the Labor-HHS appropriations bill that would require federally-funded clinics to notify parents when they provide contraceptives to their children. Istook pinned blame for the 220-201 failure of his measure on a lack of support on the part of House GOP leaders and the political cover provided by a "killer" amendment offered by liberal GOP Rep. Michael Castle (R-DE). Contact Steve Jones with Rep. Istook at 202/225-2132.
Rep. Mark Neumann (R-WI) discussed the coalition of Democrats and liberal "Clinton Republicans" who have joined forces to defeat a string of amendments to the Labor-HHS appropriations bill offered by conservatives. On average, 25% of House Republicans are voting with Democrats to keep money in the hands of Washington bureaucrats instead of redirecting those funds to job training and other programs that directly benefit people, he said. Paul Weyrich added that this coalition of Democrats and liberal "Clinton Republicans" is "really running this town." Contact Rep. Neumann at 202/225-3031, Paul Weyrich at 202/546-3000.
Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-MI) reviewed the now-voided Teamsters election of Ron Carey. The election, which was funded with $22 million in federal funds, was voided after an independent overseer found that the Carey campaign engaged in a string of improper behavior and misallocated Teamster funds. Hoekstra will introduce an amendment to the Labor-HHS appropriations bill to bar further use of tax dollars to fund elections within the already well-funded Teamsters organization. Contact Rep. Hoekstra at 202/225-4401.