Activities at the October 29 Wednesday Strategy Lunch chaired by Dick Dingman of the Free Congress Foundation.
Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) announced his placement of holds on the nominations of four controversial Clinton administration appointees: Margaret Morrow for a judgeship in the U.S. District Court in California, David Satcher for Surgeon General, Bill Lan Lee to head the Justice Department's civil rights division and Jim Hormel for Ambassador to Norway. Conservatives have voiced strong concerns over each of these nominees. Morrow has been criticized for her past advocacy of liberal causes and her reluctance to provide Senate Judiciary Committee staffers with over 40 articles thought to highlight her penchant for judicial activism. Satcher has stirred opposition over his support for testing infants for HIV and not giving parents the test results, partial-birth abortion, and his consideration of crimes involving guns as a health "epidemic." Lee's support of preferential minority hiring practices is thought by many to be incompatible for being one of the nation's top protectors of civil rights. Lastly, Hormel is perceived to desire a posting to Norway so he can influence that nation's internal debate over same-sex marriage.
Inhofe also said he had contacted Senator Dirk Kempthorne (R-ID) to relate his concerns about the senator's "Endangered Species Recovery Act" (S. 1180). Originally supportive of the bill, Inhofe said he told Kempthorne that additional information brought to his attention at the October 22 meeting has caused his enthusiasm to dim. Inhofe said he will not support the reauthorization of the ESA until it is amended to both protect the property rights of affected landowners and allow Freedom of Information Act access to data collection procedures and findings related to enforcement of the Act. Contact Senator James Inhofe at 202/224-4721.
Peter Roff of GOPAC handed out a list of Internal Revenue Service (IRS) field offices that will be holding "problem-solving" open houses on November 15, and suggestions for "peaceful ways you can make a point about how American citizens are abused by the IRS, overtaxed, or in need of tax reform." Suggestions include a press conference with victims of IRS audits and a tax form shredding party outside IRS offices. Contact Peter Roff at 202/484-2282 or email@example.com (www.gopac.com).
Katherine Kless of Congressman Jim Talent's (R-MO) office reported that the congressman's "Helping Empower Low-Income Parents Scholarship Act" (H.R. 2746) is expected to come to a vote in the House in the next few days, possibly as an amendment to pending charter school legislation. The bill will allow states and localities to use funds currently available under Title VI of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (now earmarked for development and training) to provide scholarships for families below the poverty line in poor neighborhoods to send their children to nearby public, private and religious schools. Scholarships will amount to no more than the full tuition and no less than 60% of tuition costs. Since the bill reallocates existing funds, it will not call for a new budget appropriation. The bill will also not usurp existing state and local law, and will work in compliance with any existing school choice laws that may already be in effect. The Federal government is barred from interfering in the affair of private and religious schools that accept scholarship money. Contact Katherine Kless at 202/225-2561.
Activities at the November 4 Family Forum meeting chaired by Mike Schwartz of the House Family Caucus and Amy Ridenour of The National Center for Public Policy Research.
Kate Fitzgerald of American Life League reported that, although President Clinton said on June 9 that the U.S. would work with other nations to ban human cloning, his administration has worked against such the ban (proposed by Germany). She noted that most major nations now ban human cloning, although the U.S. does not, and said her group supports HR 923, sponsored by Rep. Vern Ehlers (R-MI), to ban it. She also noted that some feminist groups have come out in favor of human cloning because they hope that it will make males unnecessary for human reproduction. Contact Kate Fitzgerald at 703/690-2510.
Tevi Troy of the House Republican Policy Committee distributed a press kit providing executive summaries, background information and copies of nine separate bills dealing with the promotion of human rights, freedom, trade and national security vis-a-vis the People's Republic of China. The House will debate all of these bills together in a 12-hour marathon session November 5. Contact Tevi Troy at 202/225-6168 or download the a press release from http://www.house.gov/republican-policy/9chinapress.htm.
Greg Peek of Rep. Helen Chenoweth's office described HR 2611, the Religious Fairness in Bankruptcy Act, which would change the law which has required that 35 churches return donations by members who subsequently went bankrupt. Under current law, a bankruptcy trustee can seize donated funds under the legal presumption that attending religious services conveys "no reasonably equivalent value." Chenoweth's bill would end this legal presumption yet continue to give bankruptcy trustees enough authority to seize contributions that were made for a fraudulent purpose or to avoid debts. Co-sponsors are being ought, and information was distributed. Contact Greg Peek at 202/225-6611.
Pat Reilly of the Capitol Resource Center distributed a new CRC analysis of the activities and, especially, the corporate donors to, the National Organization for Women. Contact Pat Reilly at 202/483-6900 or 74157.3007@ compuserve.com (www.capitolresearch.org).
Bulletin Board: Publications, statements, activities and plans of conservatives in Washington.
Supporters of new federal spending will be pleased to know that Senators Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) have joined forces to urge spending $500,000 to study building a "National Health Museum" on the Washington Mall. A letter signed by the Senators says the museum will require "long-term federal involvement" and "will serve as a 21st century forum for discussion about contemporary issues." The Senators want a "state of the art" facility built on a "grand scale" and apparently are not considering that a museum can be built with private donations (which is the case with another museum planned for the Mall, the National Memorial for Victims of Communism). For information, including the Senators' letter (including a proposed budget) contact Mike Quickel at The National Center for Public Policy Research at 202/543-4110. *