January 5, 2000
It's time to take a tally of where we are at year's end.
Although taxpayers' money is rolling into the U.S. Treasury at an
unprecedented rate, we didn't get the tax cut Republicans promised.
Bill Clinton says taxes shouldn't be cut because the people "might not
spend it right"; we only hear about "targeted" cuts that might allow
us to spend for government-designated purposes.
Clinton seems to be avoiding the blame for the shockingly
inhumanitarian results of his "humanitarian" bombing of Yugoslavia.
When the truth is finally known, the big majority of House Republicans
will be able to take pride in their foresight in going on record
against Clinton's war in Yugoslavia: 93% voted to require
Congressional approval before sending in ground troops, 86% voted
against the bombing, 80% voted against sending in peacekeeping troops,
and 58% voted to withdraw the troops Clinton had already sent in.
But then Congress appropriated double the funds Clinton requested
to pay for the war he had already waged. Congress called this spending
to rebuild "defense" but it was actually spending for Clinton's
The Republican Congress made progress in resisting Clinton's
promise to the United Nations that he would put our country in a "web"
of treaties. The Senate asserted itself by rejecting the dangerous
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
Congress also put a crimp in Clinton's plans to implement
unratified treaties such as the Global Warming (Hot Air) Treaty, which
has never even been submitted to the Senate. The Omnibus
Appropriations Act included a provision to forbid Clinton from
proposing or issuing "rules, regulations, decrees, or orders for the
purpose of implementation, or in preparation for implementation, of the
In the Omnibus Appropriations Act, Congress repealed the 1996 law
federalizing driver's licenses by requiring them to contain a "machine-
readable" Social Security number. Congress repealed this requirement
(which ought to be a state matter, anyway) but many states are going
ahead as though the law were still on the books, some states even
requiring fingerprinting to get a driver's license.
Getting rid of the federal agency that continues to fund obscene
"art" with taxpayers' money should have been a no-brainer for the
Republican Congress. Despite the latest outrage at the National
Endowment for the Arts-funded Brooklyn Museum, whose current exhibit
shows the Virgin Mary spattered with elephant dung and pornographic
pictures, we got brave words but no cuts.
The Senate denounced this "religious bigotry" and the House
condemned this "sacrilegious" exhibit. Then the Senate upped the NEA's
budget by $5 million, but the House stood firm against an increase and
kept NEA funding at "only" $98 million.
On the health care front, we heard more posturing about plans to
impose more regulations and controls but no serious move to address the
real reason why health insurance is expensive and so many millions
don't have it. The fundamental problem is that the system is rigged so
that, unless you have a job with an employer offering a good health
plan, health insurance is difficult or sometimes impossible to obtain.
An essential part of Clinton's original plan for national health
care was to control all treatment through the use of a medical ID card,
called a "unique health identifier," for every American. The Omnibus
Appropriations Act postponed the creation of these medical ID cards
"until legislation is enacted specifically approving the standard."
However, Congress failed to enact medical privacy legislation.
This tossed the ball to HHS Secretary Donna Shalala to issue medical
The feds took another step toward a cradle-to-grave healthcare
tracking system by requiring "all babies" born in hospitals to get a
"hearing screening before leaving the birthing facility." This will
input data on newborns into a federal database where the Centers for
Disease Control can "promote the sharing of data."
Hillary Clinton's "village" mentality for child rearing is
marching forward. The Treasury/Postal Appropriations bill allows
federal agencies to help employees pay for child care if the children
are cared for in a daycare facility, but not in the home.
Under a last-minute White House-Congress compromise, the United
Nations gets nearly $1 billion in alleged back dues, and the "Mexico
City Policy" was attached to funding for international family planning.
However, Clinton was given the option of waiving the law, which would
cause a mere 6% cut in the $385 million appropriation for foreign
family planning, a $20 million penalty.
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting was embarrassed by the
scandal that this taxpayer financed agency was sharing its donor lists
with Democratic fundraisers and pro-abortion groups. Congress wasn't
embarrassed, however, and rewarded CPB with an additional $10 million,
bringing its budget to $350,000,000.
On July 15, 134 Democrats joined 142 Republicans to give
themselves a 3.4% cost-of-living raise, from $136,700 to $141,300 a
year, not including medical and pension benefits and travel budgets. A
parliamentary maneuver prevented a roll-call vote on the pay raise, so
members cannot be held individually accountable.
Did they earn it? The voters will render their decision next