House Members Are Looking Ahead To Second 100 Days
On their way to recess, some representatives from each side of the aisle told us their priorities for the post-Contract Congress
Enid Greene Waldholtz (R) of Utah
The key challenge of the next 100 days, and indeed of the next 100 months, is to transform the government and balance the budget. Government takes too much from us to do too much to us. Taxes cost the average family more than food, clothing, and shelter combined. Yet the federal government spends even more than it taxes, borrowing from tomorrow's children to fund today's spending, and the president suggests deficits of $200 billion a year, continuing indefinitely.
We can't accept this any longer. We must balance the budget by 2002, and we will do it by improving government and controlling spending, not by raising taxes.
Barney Frank (D) of Massachusetts
The Clean Water Act is an important piece of legislation; also some other environmental laws have been around for a long time -- Superfund [a toxic-waste cleanup plan], for example. We should get these done very quickly.
Second, appropriations. Clearly I don't agree with what the Republicans want to do. We should trim Agriculture, Defense, and space. I mean the manned space programs, which are largely nonscientific. They are morale boosters, patriotic; that's fine, but they're not worth what they cost.
Of course the next thing we have to do is the budget.
I'm concerned about the unequal effects of international economic integration. We need to alleviate the short-term negative effects on working people.
Sonny Bono (R) of California
I am anxiously awaiting the markup on my first bill, HR 1170, which intends to bring more fairness to the process for constitutional challenges to state ballot initiatives and referendums.
I am interested in legislation related to the environmental-impact report process. Currently, regulations regarding environmental-impact reports require separate filings for each individual project or development. I would like to look at a way to standardize or simplify that process: specifically, the possibility of creating a computer data bank with data on different environmental issues that could then be accessed, as opposed to individually preparing a report each time, often duplicating existing information at great costs.
I would like to continue to look at the Departments of Education and HUD [Housing and Urban Development] and other federal agencies to determine if they can be further reduced in size or, in some cases, abolished.
Patricia Schroeder (D) of Colorado
IN the next 190 days, the Republicans are going to be delivering for the religious right, who turned out voters at the polls, and regulating our everyday lives and personal behavior. Economically, they want to turn the clock back to King George; socially, to Queen Victoria. They've been treating the Constitution like the first draft and have introduced over 40 constitutional amendments.
They should look at how to provide efficient government with a heart, to make sure we cut the deficit and at the same time not sacrifice the investment in our future.
What people want is an efficient government with a heart, one that keeps on a steady course toward progress. In the name of cutting back on bureaucracies, the Republicans have sent federal programs back to the states. We now have bureaucrats in all 50 states doing the same job.
* Readers, what would you like Congress to do in the next 100 days? Letters should include your address and telephone number and be sent to ''Readers Write,'' by mail to One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115; by fax to 617-450-2317; or by Internet E-mail to OPED@RACHEL.CSPS.COM.