Congressional Agenda

January 20, 1999

With Congress back in session there should be lots of talk about what the key issues should be in 1999. Unfortunately, much of that is obscured by the media focus on the Senate trial on the impeachment of the president. Today I would like to take a few ideas from a recent column in the Wall Street Journal and set forth a Congressional agenda. Obviously Congress will have to address such issues as Social Security and health care. But here are some other items that should be put on the agenda.

  1. Restore the Reagan tax cuts: For all the promises and claims of providing a middle class tax cut, very little has been done to relieve the tax burden on working families. Frankly, families need more than the child tax credit provided by the last Congress. Republican leaders in Congress should campaign now for a return to the Reagan-era rates of 28% and 15%.
  2. School vouchers: Although the administration has boasted of eventually hiring 10,000 new teachers, in the end it will be nothing more than a short-term spending gimmick. The real solution to educational mediocrity is school choice. Congressional leaders should begin a campaign for school vouchers, especially for low-income families.
  3. Personal retirement accounts: Republican leaders in Congress need to change the debate on Social Security by talking about reforming the system, not merely perpetuating the existing one. Shifting some portion of Social Security payroll taxes into private, individual accounts will be better for the system and give Americans a greater level of control over their future.
  4. Tort reform: Congress needs to return to the issue of frivolous lawsuits and extravagant punitive damages. Lawsuits in a litigious society end up removing lifesaving devices from the market and forces city councils to close public swimming pools.
Obviously this is a short agenda, but it's a start. Congressional leaders need to get started today to make 1999 an effective year for political reform.

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.

© 1998 Probe Ministries International