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Lott outlines Senate agenda

By Major Garrett/CNN

February 1, 2000
Web posted at: 12:14 p.m. EST (1714 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Trade issues, health care, tax cuts, transportation and juvenile justice reform will top the Senate's agenda this year, Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss, said Tuesday.

Lott said he would ask Clinton during Tuesday's meeting with the bipartisan congressional leadership, "How much capital are you willing to spend?" to encourage Democrats to back free trade with China.

He also said China "must be careful" not inflame congressional opposition through transfers of military technology to so-called rogue nations.

Lott said he was optimistic Congress would approve China's move into the WTO. He said proponents had to "be realistic" and understand that lack of support by Clinton or controversial conduct by China could doom the legislation.

More broadly, Lott said trade issues, including pending legislation to reduce trade barriers with Africa and Caribbean basin nations, will top his agenda.

Lott also said he wants the Senate to pass the pending juvenile justice bill, which he said was not just a gun bill but one that changes federal juvenile justice programs.

He offered no opinion about how to resolve the gun control dispute -- dealing with the waiting period on firearms sales at gun shows -- that has stymied the bill for months.

On health care, Lott said Republicans will support providing prescription drug benefits for poor Americans, but will resist moves to provide them for everyone.

He also said Republicans will give patients the right to sue HMOs in "egregious cases" of wrongdoing. Republicans will not support a bill that becomes a "lawyers' bill of rights," he said.

He said Republicans will move tax cuts such as reducing the so-called marriage penalty on income taxes, providing tax credits for elementary and secondary education, and enhancing access to health care.

Also, Lott said he will try again to resolve an internal Republican dispute over how to spend funds for airport construction and FAA improvements. He said he hoped to move the multi-billion-dollar bill within two months.

Lott did not mention increasing the minimum wage in his list of priorities. Clinton and congressional Democrats have placed it near the top of their list. He also said Republicans will have to wait for a Republican president and Republican Congress to achieve most of their legislative goals.

ELECTION 2000
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One day before the New Hampshire primary, candidates seek to sway voters (1-31-00)

GOP candidates on final swing through New Hampshire before Tuesday's primary (1-31-00)

Democratic rivals focus on voters for Tuesday's New Hampshire primary (1-31-00)

Final tracking poll shows McCain, Gore with solid leads (1-31-00)

NHPrimary.com: Record turnout forecast for New Hampshire primary (1-31-00)

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Tuesday, February 1, 2000


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