Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Senate Republican Report Card

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Senate Republican Report Card

Article excerpt

IN his State of the Union address President Clinton declared that "the era of big government is over." This admission signals the beginning of a new era, in which Americans will enjoy more opportunity and freedom from government intrusion. It constitutes a major victory for the American people and for the new faces they chose to represent them in 1994.

Before we in the freshman class of 11 Republican senators came to Washington in 1995, it appeared that big government could not be stopped. Congress and the president debated how much to raise the people's taxes; the president sought to take over one-seventh of the economy - the health care industry - and give it to the federal government; and the multiplication of government agencies, regulations, and mandates seemed unstoppable.

Today we are debating with the president over how large a tax cut America's working people must have. We are working toward a balanced budget by the year 2002 and have brought a halt to unrestrained government growth. This last session we even passed out of committee, for the first time ever, a plan to dismantle the outdated and anarchic Department of Commerce.

This great change came about because the new Republicans and their returning colleagues made it their business to rein in the federal government. We passed legislation making Congress abide by the same rules it applies to the rest of America. We ended Congress's practice of ordering states, localities, and businesses to make reforms without voting the money to pay for them. We instituted lobbying reform and a gift ban. Through all these measures, we sought to make Congress more accountable to the people. Accountability breeds responsibility: When public officials know that they must pay for their mandates, that they will have to abide by the rules they promulgate, that there are limits to how much they can tax and spend, they begin to live within their means. …

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