AllPolitics E-Wire -- May 19, 1997
A weekly briefing on U.S. politics:
This Week In Congress
The solidifying budget deal and the polarizing abortion issue will take center stage this week, as members wrap up work before their Memorial Day recess. (Senate, May 24-June 1; House, May 22-June 2.)
Two budget measures are on deck, according to Congressional Quarterly. One is a $4.8 billion supplemental appropriations bill to provide disaster relief for nearly two dozen states. The second is the fiscal 1998 budget resolution, in support of the balanced-budget plan negotiated by congressional leaders and the White House.
On Tuesday, the Senate may return to last week's abortion debate by taking up Sen. Rick Santorum's so-called "partial birth" abortion ban. President Bill Clinton has vowed to veto it, as he did identical legislation last year. It still is unclear whether there are enough votes in the Senate to override.
Zaire's New Leadership
The Clinton Administration said this morning it already is in touch with Laurent Kabila and his aides as they consolidate control in the central African nation of Zaire. White House spokesman David Johnson said there is no need to recognize the new regime because the U.S. recognizes nations rather than governments and has long recognized Zaire. "We are working with Kabila and we are talking with him," Johnson said. Ousted President Mobutu Sese Seko was reportedly en route to Morocco and perhaps France.
Time To Lose Some Weight
Defense Secretary William Cohen, comparing the U.S. military to an overweight athlete, favors two more rounds of military base closures. "How are we going to be able to slim down and compete for the long run to be as agile, slim and fast as we need to be?" Cohen said on CBS' "Face the Nation."
Cohen refused the say how many bases might be closed, but the administration should be ready for more opposition in Congress this time.
"The problem is not one of do we need to cut more bases," Rep. Curt Weldon (R-Pa.) told CNN's Charles Bierbauer this morning. "The problem is Congress no longer has a feeling that the president is being fair or honest and nonpolitical in terms of base closings. This was supposed to be a process that removed politics. It worked until last year when two bases were recommended for closure were kept in place. That's wrong and that soured the feeling among me and my colleagues along both sides of aisle in the House for another round of base closings."
Cohen will be a guest on CNN's "Early Edition" at 7 a.m. EDT Tuesday.
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Quote of the Week
"Our government is supposed to protect the rights of its citizens. Their rights were trampled upon -- 40 years, hundreds of men betrayed, along with their wives and children, along with the community in Macon County, Alabama, the city of Tuskegee, the fine university there, and the larger African-American community. The United States government did something that was wrong -- deeply, profoundly, morally wrong. It was an outrage to our commitment to integrity and equality for all our citizens." -- President Bill Clinton, in his May 16 apology to survivors of the government's Tuskegee syphilis study
In our latest e-mail, E. Gant of Phoenix, Ariz., writes on the late-term abortion debate in the Senate: "It is amazing to me how many men demand control of women's bodies. Men freak out at the prospect of being denied access to guns, but think women should willingly turn over control of their bodies to men in government ... Buzz off, guys. Control your own reproductive machinery. Leave us alone."
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