Inside the Beltway

Article excerpt

BUDGET LABOR

It was a big week in the House, where members approved a federal budget that would allow $1.6 trillion or more in tax cuts over the next 10 years.

And as Rep. John M. Spratt Jr., South Carolina Democrat and ranking member of the House Budget Committee, pointed out, it isn't so much the congressmen who accomplish the arduous "labor" that goes into putting together a budget.

It's their staffs.

"We have one particular staffer that I want to recognize tonight," said Mr. Spratt, adding that when "working another night well past midnight, I looked at Sara Abernathy and I said, `When are you due? . . . For goodness sake, get yourself home.' "

Sure enough, at 10:30 p.m. on Monday, March 26, a bouncing baby was born.

And what did Mrs. Abernathy deliver?

"It is a Democrat," Mr. Spratt announced.

MONEY DOESN'T PAY

Most, if not all, senators on Capitol Hill are offended, quite frankly, at the suggestion that minus campaign finance reform they are not to be trusted.

"The idea that every time there is a dollar out there you change your vote is ridiculous," says Sen. Craig Thomas, Wyoming Republican.

While Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, recalls how in 1907 Teddy Roosevelt got burned by revelations that Wall Street corporations had given millions of dollars to his 1904 campaign.

Of course, notes Mr. Schumer, one of Roosevelt's famous wealthy supporters, Henry Clay Frick, came to despise the president for his progressivism, saying: "We bought the S.O.B., but he didn't stay bought."

CONFUSED COUNTRY

Mary Ellen Bork, writer, lecturer and wife of former federal Judge Robert Bork, says the United States is in a "spiritual crisis."

As quoted by the Arlington Catholic Herald, Mrs. Bork told students of Christendom College: "The dominant culture of the world tolerates divorce, lying even by presidents, violence even by children, vulgarity in manner and music and dress.

"Hostility toward religion forbids the Ten Commandments to be posted in schools, and bristles at prayer before high school football games. Culture, which is the human environment in which we live our lives, is influenced more by the economy and technology than the more humanistic standards that used to guide it and is becoming more confused. …