Your Inside View to the Strategies and
Activities of the Conservative Movement in Washington
Activities at the March 6 and February 28 and 21 Wednesday Strategy Lunches chaired by Dick Dingman and Paul Weyrich of the Free Congress Foundation and House Majority Whip Tom DeLay
Controversial Anti-Terrorism Bill Undergoes Rehab, Faces Imminent Vote in House
House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-TX) and Rep. Bill Barr (R-GA) discussed the House anti-terrorism bill (H.R. 2768), which faces a vote the week of March 11-16. Both called it substantially improved over the 1995 version of the legislation, saying that controversial provisions have been deleted (examples: enhancing government wiretapping authority and permitting the president to designate domestic organizations as terrorist groups) or altered (the provision holding a gun seller liable if a gun purchaser used a gun in the commission of a crime). Provisions banning alien terrorist groups from fund-raising in the U.S. have been kept, and new provisions on death penalty reform, victim restitution, and the deportation of criminal aliens have been added. Said Rep. Barr: "I think we have taken into account all the major substantive objections to the bill." Contact Rep. DeLay's office at 202/225-0197 or Rep. Barr's office at 202/225-2931.
Immigration Bill Faces March 18 Vote; Sponsor Explains Its Provisions, Distributes Information Kit
Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) distributed a 14-page "Immigration in the National Interest Act Information Packet" and discussed his legal and illegal immigration reform bill, which is scheduled to be voted on March 18. Smith also gave reasons why legal immigration reform is needed, including 1) there are up to 40-year backlogs for legal immigration, which causes some to immigrate illegally; 2) spouses and children now have 4-8 year immigration waits in some cases, his bill places reuniting them higher in the line than extended families; 3) 82% of immigrants now don't have needed skills, his bill says at least 28% of them must. The kit contains more information. Contact Rep. Smith's office at 202/225-4236.
WTO Decision Could Cost U.S. $4.2 Billion a Year, Says Group; Counterfeiting Report Also Issued
Maj. F. Andy Messing (Ret.) of The National Defense Council Foundation announced that his foundation and Ralph Nader's Public Citizen just held a joint press conference criticizing the World Trade Organization's ruling against the some Clean Air Act regulations. Messing distributed a 7-page NDCF Issue Alert and a 3-page Public Citizen Talking Points on the issue, and an NDCF press release warning that, should the WTO's precedent be widely applied, "the potential U.S. liability could be $4.2 billion annually." Messing also reported on the U.S.'s massive counterfeiting problem, saying his foundation has published a paper on it and he has been briefing Members of Congress. Contact The National Defense Council Foundation at 703/836-3443.
New Bill Stops Federal Government From Saying Parents Can't Leave Work Early
Kevin McCrea of Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA)'s staff reviewed H.R. 2723 and S. 1129, the Doolittle-Ashcroft "Work and Family Integration Act." The bill is necessary, McCrea explained, because the Fair Labor Standards Act, passed in the 1930s at a time when most families had a full-time at-home parent, has elements within it that harm families. For example, he said, employers are in some instances prohibited from allowing an employee to work overtime on one day so he or she can leave early the next day to handle family duties. The bill, which sponsors fear will attract union opposition, allows employees and employers to set up voluntary schedules. He distributed two handouts. Contact Rep. Doolittle's office at 202/225-2511.
AFL-CIO's Election Efforts Against Conservatives Recounted
Rep. Randy Tate (R-WA) and Tony Williams of Senator Slade Gorton's (R-WA) office gave a presentation about the political campaign work of the AFL-CIO, Teamsters, Sierra Club and other allied organizations against conservative candidates. Williams served as spokesman for the Gordon Smith campaign in Oregon. Contact Rep. Tate's office at 202/225-8901 or Senator Gorton's office at 202/224-3441.
FEC Plans to Increase Unions' Ability to Work in Election Campaigns
Mildred Webber of Rep. Dave McIntosh (R-IN)'s office reported that the Federal Election Commission is trying to put out a new rule to lessen the reporting requirements for labor union "soft money" expenditures on campaigns. Morton Blackwell of the Leadership Institute said that "90% of what unions do in elections... is not in the form of direct contributions to candidates," explaining that unions have a $10 million payroll and focus much of their staffs' activities on elections during election years. Webber distributed Heritage Foundation Backgrounder #1068, released February 7, Oregon Election Previews AFL-CIO's New Political Plans by Charles P. Griffin. Contact Rep. McIntosh's office at 202/225-4407, the Leadership Institute at 703/321-8580, or The Heritage Foundation at 202/546-4400.
Analyst, Congressman Debate Relative Merits of Governors' Welfare Reform Plan
Consultant Bob Carlson (who headed Ronald Reagan's welfare reform effort) and Rep. Tim Hutchinson (R-AR) presented differing points of view on welfare reform. Carlson spoke highly of the welfare reform plan endorsed by all the nation's governors, saying it represents 80% of the welfare reforms the country needs and saying that it is better to take that now than nothing. Rep. Hutchinson disagreed with his assessment, saying that on illegitimacy, work requirements, placing a time limit on how long a person can receive welfare and much more, the governors' plan represents a "massive watering-down" of the plan Congress recently passed and President Clinton vetoed. The welfare reform bill is the GOP's best chance to reform welfare, he added, and said "it must be as good as it can be." Contact Bob Carlson at 619/222-0770, Rep. Tim Hutchinson's office at 202/225-4301.
INS May Recognize Same-Sex "Marriages" for Immigration Purposes
Dick Dingman of the Free Congress Foundation reported that the Office of General Counsel of the Immigration and Naturalization Service has ordered that if Hawaii okays same-sex marriages, same-sex partially-alien couples who "marry" in Hawaii shall be admitted to the U.S. under the INS provisions for spouses. Contact the Free Congress Foundation at 202/546-3000.
Bulletin Board: Publications, press releases, statements and plans of the conservative community.
By Banning Preferences, House is Moving Toward Policies to Enhance Racial Unity, Says Group
The passage of the Equal Opportunity Act on March 7 by the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution -- the full Committee is expected to vote on it in late April -- will put the federal government on a path of racial unity rather than division, according to the African-American leadership group Project 21. Of the Equal Opportunity Act (which would bar race and sex preferences in the federal government), Project 21 member Herbert Richmond of Houston said: "I'm 100 percent in favor of it (ridding the federal government of race and sex preferences)... I think preferences stigmatize us and gives the impression that minorities are incompetent." Contact Project 21 at (202) 507-6398 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.