Reps. Shimkus and Allen
April 23, 1997
in this forum:
How much work is done in committee? Have Republicans lost their spirit? Is Congress obsessed with scandals? Is there too much
grandstanding in Congress?
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A question from Carl Hawkins of Alton, IL:
Losing their way
It seems that the Republicans in the House have lost their spirit. In the 104th, there was no stopping this revolution and now it seems to have stopped itself. Is this a media misperception or is it just quieter? How has this slowing of the GOP machine affected the Democrats?
Representative Allen responds:
Without question, the 105th Congress has been very quiet. In fact, the 105th Congress has been called a "Do Nothing Congress." This week has been the third week in a row that the Republican leadership has decided to declare a "suspension week" on which the body will suspend the rules and pass non-controversial bills. We have been in session for four months and we have yet to deliberate on much substantive legislation. The Republican leadership seems to me to be unable to set a legislative agenda that addresses the needs and concerns of working American families. The Democratic members of this body are still working to push an agenda that will deal with the concerns of working families. I am working with my colleagues to address campaign finance reform and to ensure accessible and affordable health care coverage to ten million uninsured children.
Representative Shimkus responds:
First let me say that it is great to hear Alton and Mr. Hawkins. Alton is just outside my congressional district, but is still a great American town! Carl, let me address your excellent question. I feel that the previous Congress, in which I did not serve, placed Republicans in a position to finally work on and pass common sense changes in federal law that the Democrats, for political reasons, failed to do. The last Congress was playing "catch-up" with the feelings of the American people. Indeed, Republicans delivered many achievements such as immigration and welfare reform, tax cuts for small business and adoptions, and a consistant theme of smaller, more efficient government. In the future many challenges remain -- balancing the budget, protecting Medicare, and eliminating the $5.3 trillion deficit -- and I intend to work for all of these. Even in the face of persistent partisan sniping, the "GOP machine" is running strong and working constructively to make America a better nation.