Issue 206 * December 11, 1998
The National Center for Public Policy Research
Amy Ridenour, President
20 F Street NW, Suite 700 * Washington, D.C. 20001
(202) 507-6398 * Fax (202) 409-7773
Activities at the December 9 and 2 Strategy
Lunches chaired by Paul Weyrich of the Free Congress Foundation
and sponsored by Coalitions for America (202/546-3003).
Participants discussed the impeachment hearings and the likely result of a House vote to impeach, which would send the issue to the Senate for a trial. Tony Rudy of the office of House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-TX) said it was impossible to predict how the House vote would turn out, but he noted that Delay is "not whipping this [vote]. Tom has said this is a vote on conscience." Several participants shared a list of Republicans whose vote on the impeachment issue is uncertain. Those Republicans are: Connie Morella, R-MD, 202/225-5341; Ben Gilman, R-NY, 202/225-3776; John McHugh, R-NY, 202/225-4611; Sue Kelly, R-NY, 202/225-5441; Wayne Gilcrest, R-MD, 202/225-5311; Michael Forbes, R-NY, 202/225-3826; David Hobson, R-OH, 202/225-4324; Jon Fox, R-PA, 202/225-6111; Steve LaTourette, R-OH, 202/225-5731; Frank LoBiondo, R-NJ, 202/225-6572; Bob Franks, R-NJ, 202/225-5361; Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-FL, 202/225-3931; John Shimkus, R-IL, 202/225-5271; Heather Wilson, R-NM; 202/225-6316; John McHugh, R-NY, 202/225-4611; Sherwood Boehlert, R-NY, 202/225-3665. A participant noted that the fate of impeachment could rest with the New York delegation, which is being heavily lobbied by Senator Al D'Amato to vote against impeachment. Participants agreed that D'Amato remains very influential with the New York delegation, and one reported a rumor that D'Amato might be hoping to be appointed U.S. Ambassador to Italy. Other participants reported that organized labor has cranked up their phone banks to Capitol Hill in order to urge Members not to vote for impeachment; that AFL-CIO President John Sweeney is lobbying Members of Congress personally and that the volume of calls on both sides of this issue has consistently jammed the Capitol switchboard. Contact Tony Rudy at 202/225-0197.
Paul Weyrich and Gordon Jones of the Free Congress Foundation discussed and distributed copies of December 1 and December 3 newspaper columns by Mark Patinkin of the Providence Journal, a columnist who was an advocate of the President's position and critical of Ken Starr until he received a large number of calls and letters from Americans who described to him how the scandal has undermined the morals of their children. Patinkin's columns quote at length from many of the letters, which make for very affecting reading. The columns, plus a third written on the subject by Patinkin quoting Clinton supporters on December 10, are available online at http://www.providencejournal.com (a $1.50 fee is charged to retrieve articles over two days old) or by fax from Amy Ridenour at (202) 507-6398 or email@example.com. Contact Paul Weyrich or Gordon Jones at 202/546-3003.
Paul Weyrich of the Free Congress Foundation introduced Speaker-Designate Bob Livingston (R-LA) to the group, saying Livingston is a man who "keeps his word" and "has never reneged on a commitment." Weyrich said, "for my money that's worth a great deal." Weyrich explained that past instances of animosity between the conservative movement and congressional leaders happened because conservatives were often left out of the development of policy initiatives important to them. Weyrich advised, "Make us a part of what you're doing. We won't always agree but if we're part of the process you'll find a lot of good will and support." Contact Paul Weyrich at 202/546-3000 or firstname.lastname@example.org (www.freecongress.org).
Rep. Bob Livingston, using a quote from Abraham Lincoln about Republican losses during his presidency, characterized Republican losses in the mid-term elections as "a slip and not a fall." Stressing that now is the "time to get our balance," Livingston said Republicans "have to go back to communicating our ideas to the American people." Specific areas he wants Congress to focus on include lower taxes, less regulation, local control of schools, safer communities and stronger defense. Livingston said, "I am a conservative and [I am] no less committed to a conservative agenda than I was two months ago." He said he planned to "run our conservative majority" as "an extension of what [former House Speaker] Newt [Gingrich] created and accomplished." Contact Rep. Livingston at 202/225-3015.
Rep. Bob Livingston told participants that Congress must "uphold and maintain our constitutional responsibility on impeachment." In response, various participants said Congress must focus solely on impeaching President Clinton and not consider censure. Peter Roff of GOPAC said, "The job for this week is providing sufficient [media] cover for members to take censure off the table." Paul Weyrich of the Free Congress Foundation added that Congress voting for articles of impeachment is an act of censure in itself since the Senate will actually judge the President. Weyrich also said those on the fence about impeachment should consider President Clinton's unrepentant attitude in answering the House Judiciary Committee's 81 questions regarding independent counsel Kenneth Starr's findings. Roff also said offering the alternative of censure - which could be expunged from the Congressional Record by a future Democratic leadership - would allow Democrats to cover up their past protection of the President's behavior by allowing them to criticize but not punish. Congresswoman Helen Chenoweth (R-ID) pointed out that "it is important to remember no President has been censured in a climate of impeachment." Contact Rep. Livingston at 202/225-3015, Peter Roff at 202/484-2282, Paul Weyrich at 202/546-3003 and Rep. Chenoweth at 202/225-6611.
Mark Mix of the National Right to Work Committee asked Rep. Livingston if he would allow the full House to vote on legislation that is not guaranteed of passage but would help mobilize important constituencies. Livingston responded that "we ought not be afraid to bring issues to the floor," and noted that being "too sensitive to too few members" in the past kept Congress from making significant accomplishments. "I will not sit on good, solid conservative legislation," Livingston said. "My intent," Livingston added, "is to have fewer task forces and more reliance on committee chairmen." Livingston said he would much rather see legislation amended during debate on the floor rather than be bogged down at the committee level. Contact Rep. Livingston at 202/225-3015 and Mark Mix at 703/321-9820.
Peter Ferrara of American for Tax Reform urged Rep. Livingston to "be brave on Social Security," saying "we finally have a winning hand" with overwhelming public support for allowing personal control of retirement savings. Livingston pointed out that President Clinton has said saving Social Security is one of his top priorities, but he has not offered his own reform plan. Noting that Clinton has reserved his role almost exclusively to attacking or taking credit for legislation, Livingston said, "strategy is something we must consider." Contact Rep. Livingston at 202/225-3015 and Peter Ferrara at 202/785-0266.
John Gizzi of Human Events asked Rep. Livingston if Rep. Mark
Neumann (R-WI) would be selected to replace outgoing Congressional
Budget Office (CBO) Director June O'Neill. Livingston replied
that Neumann's candidacy is "being discussed," and Neumann
is "one of the best numbers guys around." He called
Neumann an "excellent" choice, saying "his numbers
were more realistic than CBO's" in the past. Contact Rep.
Livingston at 202/225-3015 and John Gizzi at 202/216-0600. *