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Centrists Mixed on Pelosi Vote
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Centrists Mixed on Pelosi Vote

BY Ethan Wallison

Democratic insiders are predicting that a small group of party centrists and vulnerable incumbents will abandon Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D) in next month's Speakership election in an effort to distance themselves from the liberal California lawmaker. Some knowledgeable insiders suggest the vote could amount to the largest defection from one party's candidate for Speaker since nine Republicans deserted Rep. Newt Gingrich (R) in 1997, amid swirling ethics allegations against the Georgia lawmaker. "There's little doubt in my mind that there are a lot of Members who are weighing how they are going to deal with this vote for Speaker," said one senior party strategist, who indicated that "multiple" Members have sought out his advice on the matter. "A number of people are saying grace over this together." But some centrists, such as Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.), have signaled that they will support Pelosi in the largely symbolic vote at the beginning of the 108th Congress. "He's as firm for Pelosi as [a moderate Democrat] can be," Bishop spokesman Selby McCash said. Nevertheless, one senior Democratic aide noted, "For many people, they consider [a vote for Pelosi to be] political suicide." Already Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Miss.), a member of the party's conservative Blue Dog Coalition, has indicated that he will once again back Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) in the vote for Speaker. Insiders say there is little chance Pelosi will receive votes from other conservatives such as Reps. Ralph Hall (D-Texas) and Ken Lucas (D-Ky.), who only recently flirted with switching parties. Neither Hall nor Lucas could be reached for comment this week. A senior Pelosi aide noted that in every Congress there tends to be one or two Democrats who vote against the party's candidate for Speaker, but indicated that no one has yet "detected any evidence" of any significant opposition to the California lawmaker. "If it's a political problem for some people then it's something we'll have to discuss with them in the weeks to come," the aide said, while indicating it is the leadership's "preference" - not its demand - that Members back Pelosi. "We're not here to kill people," the aide said. Uneasiness about Pelosi - but specifically with her liberal credentials - has been evident among moderate Democrats since the California lawmaker was first elected to the leadership as the party Whip. First Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and later Reps. Martin Frost (D-Texas) and Harold Ford Jr. (D-Tenn.) all sought to challenge Pelosi's climb through the leadership ranks by tapping this anxiety and suggesting that she would serve as a useful symbol for Republicans hoping to paint the Democrats as a party of intransigent liberals. That message would appear to have some traction in the Caucus. In spite of an 11th-hour start, Ford received 29 votes in his leadership matchup with Pelosi last month. In fact, many party strategists doubt that Pelosi will pose a problem for Democrats seeking re-election in 2004, in spite of her ideology. Bob Doyle, a political consultant who has worked with a number of party moderates, noted that voters are most likely to make judgments about the Democrats from observing the party's nominee for president, not from its leader in the House. Doyle, who has often in the past clashed with party leaders over ideology, said moderates are likely to find reason for optimism in Pelosi's reign as leader. "My belief is that she will see [the next two years] as a tremendous challenge, and will go out of her way to find a leadership agenda that will be good for these people," Doyle said. GOP strategists did in fact seek to link conservative Democrats such as Lincoln Davis (Tenn.) and Rodney Alexander (La.) to Pelosi in the just-completed election cycle. Both candidates won, but insiders suggest that neither is expected to back Pelosi for the Speakership. At least one outside group, Citizens for a Sound Economy, which promotes tax cuts and other conservative economic policies, has begun an effort to undermine Pelosi's tally - the Speakership election is a recorded vote - by seeking to pressure Democrats elected from relatively conservative districts. "If Nancy Pelosi wants to take radical positions, that is her own business, but she shouldn't lead other Democrats down the same path to economic and political oblivion," CSE said in a press release this week. CSE indicated it has targeted 14 moderates, who are identified on the campaign's Web site, http://www.notpelosi.com. They are Bishop, Ford, Hall, Lucas and Taylor, plus Reps. Marion Berry (Ark.), Leonard Boswell (Iowa), Brad Carson (Okla.), Bud Cramer (Ala.), Chris John (La.), Mike McIntyre (N.C.), Collin Peterson (Minn.), Max Sandlin (Texas) and Charlie Stenholm (Texas). CSE is likely to find that some of those targeted are not at all susceptible to whatever pressure is brought to bear. Berry, Peterson and Sandlin, for instance, are longtime Pelosi allies who supported her publicly through her first forays into leadership politics. Bishop, who is someone who has to rely on Pelosi's goodwill for a seat on the Appropriations Committee - or, alternatively, to take over for her as the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee - is a more recent ally.

12/19/2002
Economic Group Hopes to Undercut Pelosi's Rise to Prominence
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Economic Group Hopes to Undercut Pelosi's Rise to Prominence

BY Chad Groening

(AgapePress) - A Washington, DC, activist group is urging moderate House Democrats not to "rubber-stamp" the selection of Nancy Pelosi as the new minority leader, because of her radical voting on economic issues. Citizens for a Sound Economy calls itself a non-partisan grassroots group dedicated to lower taxes, less government, and more freedom. Spokesman Chris Kinnan says the CSE has rated members of Congress on 20 economic issues -- and Democrat Nancy Pelosi scored a perfect zero.

12/18/2002
All We Want for Christmas is PERS Reform!
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Press Release

All We Want for Christmas is PERS Reform!

The best Christmas present all Oregonians could receive is a long-term solution to the PERS crisis that continues to threaten the health and future of our state. While politicians in Salem continue to debate how best to address the latest biennium fiscal crisis, they ignore the most pressing fiscal problem facing the state, namely, the exploding unfunded costs of the state’s Public Employees Retirements System (PERS). Originally designed as a “competitive” pension system to allow state and local government to attract and retain talented people, PERS quickly morphed into a taxpayer-financed orgy for public employees with total unfunded liability currently estimated to range between $11.5 and $15.7 billion. If the legislature does not take immediate steps to rectify the problem, funding for schools, fire and police departments, and basic government services will be in jeopardy.

12/18/2002
Let the Confirmation Process Begin
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Press Release

Let the Confirmation Process Begin

When Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist lamented on the pace of judicial confirmations during the 107th Congress, you knew that something was wrong with the process in the Senate. Rehnquist solemnly wrote in his yearly review of the judiciary: in “times such as these, the role of the courts becomes even more important in order to enforce the rule of law. To continue functioning effectively and efficiently, however, the courts must be appropriately staffed. This means that…judicial vacancies must be timely filled with well-qualified candidates.” Moreover, when the editors at Washington Post bemoaned the dawdling rate at which President Bush’s judicial nominees were voted on -- let alone scheduled for a hearing in the Judiciary Committee – it’s a good indicator that someone or party stonewalled and hijacked the confirmation process.

12/18/2002
Alternative Minimum Monster
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Press Release

Alternative Minimum Monster

Taxes targeting the rich eventually end up hitting the average guy. For example. when the modern federal income tax became law in 1913, Congress intended to only tap the wealthiest Americans. Rates ranged from 1 percent to 7 percent, and well over 90 percent of the population was exempt from filing. Of course, today, income tax rates range from 10 percent to nearly 40 percent, and the income tax takes from all but the poorest workers.

12/18/2002
Rubinomics Revisited
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Press Release

Rubinomics Revisited

Speculation that the new Republican Congress may propose a sizeable tax cut as its first order of business in the New Year has lead many to question whether our nation can “afford” to reduce tax rates. A steady drumbeat of opposition has manifested itself in the pages of left-of-center publications and on Wall Street, where bankers fear increased deficits will reduce the price of their agglomeration of Treasury notes and depress corporate borrowing and the underwriting fees associated with it.

12/18/2002
Taxes, Spending, and Deficits
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Press Release

Taxes, Spending, and Deficits

Fiscal policy is making a comeback in Washington. President Bush underscored this point with a recent economic policy shake-up that included replacing the Treasury Secretary and the White House economic adviser. With a sluggish economy and the return of deficit spending, Republican Washington realizes that remaining in power will require an agenda broader than war in Iraq. Democrats, on the other hand, accuse the president of irresponsible tax cuts and a weak domestic policy agenda.

12/18/2002
The Lieberman Factor
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Press Release

The Lieberman Factor

Al Gore read the handwriting on the wall and decided he was not up to a rematch with President Bush. So, he’s gone. We wish him well …. The most obvious immediate beneficiary of the Gore drop out is his former running mate, Senator Joe Lieberman (D-Ct). Now released from a pledge not to run in the primaries against Gore, Lieberman has given every indication that he plans to jump on “the awesome opportunity” he now has to run for President.

12/18/2002
Kenn S. George Joins CSE Board of Directors
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Press Release

Kenn S. George Joins CSE Board of Directors

Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE) is proud to announce that Texas businessman and political leader Kenn S. George is joining CSE’s national Board of Directors. Rep. George is a retiring Republican State Representative twice elected to the Texas State House. Representing Dallas (District 108), Rep. George helped lead the conservative agenda in Austin to improve health care for senior citizens, lower taxes, provide local control of education, and promote a stronger business climate.

12/18/2002
Conservative and Free Market Groups Call FTC Do-Not-Call Registry Bad Economic Policy;
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Conservative and Free Market Groups Call FTC Do-Not-Call Registry Bad Economic Policy;

In anticipation of the expected announcement today by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) of its proposal to create and monitor a nation wide "do not call" (DNC) list many national conservative and free market organizations have issued their protest, again, to the unprecedented steps of the federal agency. "Today's move by the FTC to go ahead with a national do-not-call list is just bad economic policy. Many businesses, particularly small businesses, and their employees are going to be negatively affected by this move. Congress and the Bush Administration should put a halt to this ill-advised policy," stated Darrell McKigney, President of the Small Business Survival Committee (SBSC). Many experts on state rights, privacy advocates, and heads of free market and conservative organizations have concerns about adding new regulations on the teleservices industry that will have a far reaching impact on small businesses, non profit organizations, and the general public. Seventeen groups signed on to a petition letter to President Bush in June of 2002 adamantly opposing the FTC's proposed DNC list. "While the 'do not call' proposal has become a topic of debate here in Washington, it is not evident that action by the Federal Trade Commission is necessary," stated Paul Beckner, president of Citizens for a Sound Economy. "The FTC's actions raise important questions about free speech and may harm consumers more than they would help them. "As numerous studies have demonstrated, direct business communication to consumers increases awareness of product alternatives, intensifies competition, and lowers prices. Furthermore, many private sector alternatives have developed to address concerns about unsolicited phone calls, including 'hassle-free' credit cards and caller id and call block features from telephone companies. New FTC regulations on commercial speech would not only harm the solicitors, but foreclose the market for private sector alternatives through the creation of a vast database that would compromise consumer privacy in the process." Duane Parde, executive director of the American Legislative Exchange Council, said, "There is absolutely no need for the federal government to enforce such frivolous regulations on to Americans when states are already implementing do-not-call lists, and the free market is providing solutions to block unwanted calls to consumers. The federal government is most assuredly not needed here." ALEC, CSE, and SBSC, represent three of the groups out of 17 that oppose this FTC ruling and signed on to a petition letter to President Bush in June, 2002, urging the President to withdrawal this FTC initiative immediately. Copies of the petition letter available upon request. CONTACT: Stella Harrison, +1-202-431-6461, or stella@stellarstrategies.net, for the Small Business Survival Committee. MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT - Click Here http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X26314665 SOURCE Small Business Survival Committee

12/18/2002

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