The Vision Shared: The Republican Platform, Uniting Our Family, Our Country, Our World
Adopted August 17, 1992
Abraham Lincoln, our first Republican President, expressed the philosophy that inspires Republicans to this day: "The legitimate object of Government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do at all, or cannot so well do, for themselves in their separate and individual capacities. But in all that people can individually do as well for themselves, Government ought not to interfere."
We believe that most problems of human making are within the capacity of human ingenuity to solve.
For good reason, millions of new Americans have flocked to our shores: America has always been an opportunity society. Republicans have always believed that economic prosperity comes from individual enterprise, not government programs. We have defended our core principles for 138 years; but never has this country, and the world, been so receptive to our message.
The Fall of the Berlin Wall symbolizes an epochal change in the way people live. More important, it liberates the way people think. We see with new clarity that centralized government bureaucracies created in this century are not the wave of the future. Never again will people trust planners and paper shufflers more than they trust themselves. We all watched as the statue of Soviet hangman Feliks Dzherzhinsky was toppled in front of Moscow' s KGB headquarters by the very people his evil empire sought to enslave. Its sightless eyes symbolized the moral blindness of totalitarians around the world. They could never see the indomitable spirit of people determined to be free from government control—free to build a better future with their own heads, hands, and hearts.
We Republicans saw clearly the dangers of collectivism: not only the military threat, but the deeper threat to the souls of people bound in dependence. Here at home, we warned against Big Government, because we knew concentrated decisionmaking, no matter how well-intentioned, was a danger to liberty and prosperity. Republicans stood at the rampart of freedom, defending the individual against the domineering state. While we did not always prevail, we always stood our ground, faithful to our principles and confident of history's ultimate verdict.
Our opponents declared that the dogmas of the Left were the final and victorious faith. From kremlins and ivory towers, their planners proclaimed the bureaucratic millennium. But in a tragic century of illusion, Five Year Plans and Great Leaps Forward failed to summon a Brave New World. One hundred and fifty years of slogans and manifestos came crashing down in an ironic cascade of unintended consequences. All that is left are the ruins of a failed scoundrel ideology.
As May Day lapses back into just another spring festival, the Fourth of July emerges as the common holiday of free men and women. Yet, in 1992, when the self-governing individual has overcome the paternalistic state, liberals here at home simply do not get it. Indeed, their party seeks to turn the clock back. But their ideas are old and tired. Like planets still orbiting a dying star, the believers in state power turn their faces to a distant and diminishing light.
The Democrats would revise history to rationalize a return to bigger government, higher taxes, and moral relativism. The Democrat Party has forgotten its origins as a party of work, thrift, and self-reliance. But they have not forgotten their art for dissembling and distortion. The Democrats are trapped in their compact with the ideology of trickle-down government, but they are clever enough to know that the voters would shun them if their true markings were revealed.
America had its rendezvous with destiny in 1980. Faced with crisis at home and abroad, Americans turned to Republican leadership in the White House. Presidents Reagan and Bush turned our Nation away from the path of over-taxation, hyper-regulation, and mega-government. Instead, we moved in a new direction. We cut taxes, reduced red tape, put people above bureaucracy. And so we vanquished the idea of the almighty state as the supervisor of our daily lives. In choosing hope over fear, Americans raised a beacon, reminding the world that we are a shining city on a hill, the last best hope for man on earth.
Contrary to statist Democrat propaganda, the American people know that the 1980s were a rising tide, a magnificent decade for freedom and entrepreneurial creativity. We are confident that, knowing this, they will never consciously retreat to the bad old days of tax and spend. Our Platform will clarify the choice before our fellow citizens.
We have learned that ideas do indeed have consequences. Thus, our words are important not for their prose but for what they reveal about the thinking of our President and our Party.
Two years ago, President Bush described the key elements of what be called "our new paradigm," a fresh approach that aims to put new ideas to work in the service of enduring principles—principles we upheld throughout the long twilight struggle, principles George Bush has acted decisively to advance. Thus we honor the Founders and their vision.
Unlike our opponents, we are inspired by a commitment to profound change. Our mission combines timeless beliefs with a positive vision of a vigorous America: prosperous and tolerant, just and compassionate. We believe that individual freedom, hard work, and personal responsibility—basic to free society—are also basic to effective government. We believe in the fundamental goodness of the American people. We believe in traditional family values and in the Judeo-Christian heritage that informs our culture. We believe in the Constitution and its guarantee of color-blind equal opportunity. We believe in free markets. We believe in constructive change, in both true conservatism and true reform. We believe government has a legitimate role to play in our national life, but government must never dominate that life.
While our goals are constant, we are willing to innovate, experiment, and learn. We have learned that bigger is not better, that quantity and quality are different things, that more money does not guarantee better outcomes. We have learned the importance of individual choice—in education, health care, child care—and that bureaucracy is the enemy of initiative and self-reliance. We believe in empowerment, including home ownership for as many as possible. We believe in decentralized authority, and a bottom-line, principled commitment to what works for people.
We believe in the American people: free men and women with faith in God, working for themselves and their families, believing in the value of every human being from the very young to the very old.
We believe the Founders intended Congress to be responsive, flexible, and foresighted. After decades of Democrat misrule, the Congress is none of these things. Dominated by reactionaries, obsessed with the failed policies and stuctures of the past, the Democrat majority displays a "do-nothing" doggedness: they intend to learn nothing and forget nothing. Seeking to build a better America, we seek to elect a better Congress.
Finally, we believe in a President who represents the national interest, not just the aggregation of well-connected special interests; a President who brings unity to the American purpose.
America faces many challenges. Republicans, under the strong leadership of President Bush, are responding with this bold Platform of new ideas that infuses our commitment to individual freedom and market forces with an equal commitment to a decent, just way of life for every American.
With a firm faith that the American people will always choose hope over fear, we Republicans dedicate ourselves to this forward-looking agenda for America in the 1990s, transcending old, static ideas with a shared vision of hope, optimism, and opportunity.
Uniting Our Family
As the family goes, so goes the Nation. Strong families and strong communities make a strong America. An old adage says, "America is great because she is good; if America ceases to be good, she will cease to be great."
Our greatness starts at home—literally. So Republicans believe government should strengthen families, not replace them. Today, more than ever, the traditional family is under assault. We believe our laws should reflect what makes our Nation prosperous and wholesome: faith in God, hard work, service to others, and limited government.
Parents bring reality to these principles when they pass them on to their children. As the Book of Proverbs proclaims, "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."
Imagine the America we could create if all parents taught their children the importance of honesty, work, responsibility, and respect for others. We would have less violence in our homes and streets; less illegal drug use; fewer teen pregnancies forcing girls and boys to be adults before they have graduated from high school. Instead, we would have an America of families, friends, and communities that care about one another.
That kind of future is not a matter of chance; it is a question of personal responsibility. Barbara Bush captured the importance of that stewardship when she said, "At the end of your life you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict, or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a child, a friend, or a parent."
The Republican Party has espoused these principles since its founding. Families built on solid, spiritual foundations are central to our Party's inspiration. At this time of great national and global transition, we renew our commitment to these fundamental principles, which will guide our family, our country, our world into the next century.
Family: The Home of Freedom
The Rights of the Family. Our national renewal starts with the family. It is where each new generation gains its moral anchor. It is the school of citizenship, the engine of economic progress, a permanent haven when everything is changing.
Change can be good, when it liberates the energy and commitment of family members to build better futures. We welcome change that corrects the mistakes of the past, particularly those at war against the family. For more than three decades, the liberal philosophy has assaulted the family on every side.
Today, its more vocal advocates believe children should be able to sue their parents over decisions about schooling, cosmetic surgery, employment, and other family matters. They deny parental authority and responsibility, fracturing the family into isolated individuals, each of them dependent upon—and helpless before—government. This is the ultimate agenda of contemporary socialism under all its masks: to liberate youth from traditional family values by replacing family functions with bureaucratic social services. That is why today's liberal Democrats are hostile toward any institution government cannot control, like private childcare or religious schools.
The Republican Party responds, as it has since 1980, with an unabashed commitment to the family's economic liberty and moral rights. Republicans trust parents and believe they, not courts and lawyers, know what is best for their children. That is why we will work to ensure that the Congress and the States shall enact no law abridging the rights of the family formed by blood, marriage, adoption, or legal custody-rights which are anterior and superior to those of government. Republicans oppose and resist the efforts of the Democrat Party to redefine the traditional American family.
The Right to a Family. Every child deserves a family in a home filled with love and free from abuse. Today, many children do not enjoy that right. We are determined to change that. While government cannot legislate love and compassion, we can provide the leadership to encourage the development of healthy, nurturing families. We applaud the fine example of family values and family virtue as lived by the President and the First Lady.
We will promote whole, caring families by eliminating biases that have crept into our legal and tax codes. We will advance adoption through significant tax credits, insurance reforms, and legal reforms. We encourage adoption for those unprepared or unwilling to bear the emotional, financial, or physical demands of raising a child and will work to revive maternity homes to ensure care for both mothers and babies.
We applaud the commitment of foster care parents who provide family environments for foster care children. We abhor the disgraceful bureaucratic mismanagement of foster care. Big city mayors have spent billions on social service bureaucrats who have lost track of many children. Many have no health records, no real residence, not even the simplest personal possessions. Shuttled from house to house, they lack discipline and identity and are ripe for lives of crime. We are determined to reform this system to help these children.
Broken homes can have a devastating emotional and economic impact upon children and are the breeding ground for gang members. We urge State legislatures to explore ways to promote marital stability. Because the intergenerational family is a vital element of social cohesion, we urge greater respect for the rights and the roles of grandparents.
Republicans recognize the importance of having fathers and mothers in the home. The two-parent family still provides the best environment of stability, discipline, responsibility, and character. Documentation shows that where the father has deserted his family, children are more likely to commit a crime, to drop out of school, to become violent, to become teen parents, to take illegal drugs, to become enmired in poverty, or to have emotional or behavioral problems. We support the courageous efforts of single-parent families to have a stable home.
Caring for Children. George Bush secured the American family's most important victory of the last four years: his child care bill. He won landmark legislation—a voucher system for low-income households, allowing parents to choose what's best for their children, including care given by neighbors or churches. The Democrat Party opposed that legislation and instead sought government control of childcare and fewer choices for parents.
The President also advanced equity for families that forego a second income to care for their children at home through his Young Child Tax Credit. Congressional Democrats are already trying to repeal it.
The demands of employment and commuting often make it hard for parents to spend time with their children. Republicans advocate maximum flexibility in working and child care arrangements so that families can make the most of their schedules. We support pro-family policies: job sharing, telecommuting, compressed work weeks, parental leave negotiated between employer and employees, and flextime. We reject the Democrats' one-size-fits-all approach that puts mandates on employers and takes choices away from employees.
Most parents prefer in-home care of their children but often encounter government obstacles. Republicans will promote in-home care by allowing payment annually, instead of quarterly, of income taxes by employees and withholding taxes by employers. Our proposals for tort reform, now blocked by the Democrat Congress, will prevent excessive litigation that hampers the growth of child care opportunities. By taking care of our children, we are taking care of our future.
Family Security. Over the last several decades, liberal Democrats have increasingly shifted economic burdens onto the American family. Indeed, the liberal Democrat tax-and-spend policies have forced millions of women into the workplace just to make ends meet. Because of their policies in Congress, fathers and mothers have a tougher time bringing home what they work so hard for.
Between 1948 and 1990, under the Democrat-controlled Congress for most of those years, federal taxes on the average family of four rose from two percent to 24 percent of income. When State and local levies are included, the tax burden exceeds one-third of family income. The increase in the effective federal tax rate since 1950 has now swallowed up an ever-increasing share of a family's earnings. Instead of working to improve their family's standard of living, they must work to feed government's gluttonous appetite.
This is a scandal. In the 1980s, two Republican Presidents kept Democrats from making matters worse. Presidents Reagan and Bush led the way to increase the personal exemption for dependents. We pledge to go farther to restore the value, as a percentage of average household income, it had 50 years ago. The value of the dependent deduction has eroded to a fraction of its original worth to families. Republicans call for a complete restoration, in real dollars, to its original value. Rather than fatten government bureaucracies with new programs to "help" families, we want to expand the Young Child Tax Credit to $500 per child and make it available to all families with children under the age of ten.
When the Democrats establish tax policy that makes marriage more expensive than living together, they discourage traditional commitment and stable home life. We will remove the marriage penalty in the tax code, so a married couple will receive as large a standard deduction as their unmarried counterparts. Together, these changes will empower parents to care for their families in a way public services never can.
Achieving Educational Excellence. In the earliest American communities, pioneers would establish a church, then a school. Parents wanted their children to have the best possible education, to learn what they needed to know to make a better life. Virtually every newly arrived immigrant family thought of education as the American way from the back to the front of the line. Americans have come to believe that only a country that successfully educates its sons and daughters can count on a strong, competitive economy, a vibrant culture, and a solid civic life.
As a result of this popular demand for education, Americans have created the most extensive and widely accessible educational system in the world. The people have insisted that primary responsibility for education properly remain with families, communities, and States, although, from early times, the national government has played a role in encouraging innovation and access. In the 18th century, the Northwest Ordinance assured that school bells would ring amid frontier forests. In the 19th century, President Lincoln signed the Morrill Act establishing 50 land-grant colleges. In the 20th century, President Eisenhower signed the National Defense Education Act, providing millions with a chance at higher education; and President Nixon signed legislation that today provides federal grants and loans to half our full-time college students. In the 21st century, the promotion of educational excellence will be more crucial than ever before in our Nation's history.
Recognizing what every parent knows, that our current educational system is not educating our children, President Bush is leading an education revolution. We applaud the President's bold vision to change radically our education system. Our parents want it, our communities want it, our States want it, and our children want it—but the Democrat leadership in the House and the Senate continue to thwart the will of the American people for radical change in the way we educate our children.
The Republican strategy is based on sound principle. Parents have the right to choose the best school for their children. Schools should teach right from wrong. Schools should reinforce parental authority, not replace it. We should increase flexibility from federal regulation. We should explore a new generation of break-the-mold New American Schools. Standards and assessments should be raised, not reduced to a lowest common denominator. Communities should be empowered to find what works. The pursuit of excellence in education is a fundamental goal. Good teachers should be rewarded for teaching well. Alternative certification can bring desperately-needed new people into the teaching profession. America needs public, private, and parochial schools.
Education is a joint responsibility of the individual, the family, and the community. Parents are the first and most important teachers of their children. They should have the right not only to participate in their child's education, but to choose for their children among the broadest array of educational choices, without regard to their income. We also support the right of parents to provide quality education through home-based schools.
The Bush Administration has sent to Congress several legislative proposals embodying these principles. The proposals, in spite of the fact that 1500 communities across the Nation have developed local committees to support them through the AMERICA 2000 strategy, languish in the Democrat Congress. And they are opposed by special interest unions which have a power-grip on the failed policies of the past.
Improving America by Improving our Schools. For America to maintain her preeminence into the next century, our educational system must be revolutionized. Too many schools still teach in an outdated manner. Too many government and union rules have burdened our schools. And too much influence by lobbyists has blocked true reform. Even the most inspiring teachers are working within a system that stymies their creativity and fails to challenge their students.
Creating the Best Schools in the World. We applaud President Bush's consistent and determined leadership in setting a new direction for American education. Our overriding purpose is clear: to create the best schools in the world for our children by the turn of the century.
To do so, the President has established a bold strategy, AMERICA 2000, which challenges communities in every State to take charge to achieve our ambitious national education goals. The success of AMERICA 2000 will depend upon the local community, where implementation and ultimate responsibility rest.
We have seen real progress. Perhaps most important, though, is that President Bush has fostered a national debate on education that has challenged every American to get involved. He has called forth American traits of ingenuity and ambition to create better lives for our children. As a result, a new generation of break-the-mold New American Schools is taking shape. New and tougher standards and assessments are being established for what our children should know. The number of strings attached to federal school aid is being reduced.
The President has shown unprecedented leadership for the most important education goal of all: helping middle and low income families enjoy the same choice of schools—public, private, or religious—that families with more resources already have. The President's proposed "GI Bill for Children" will provide $1,000 scholarships to middle and low income families, enabling their children to attend the school of their choice. This innovative plan will not only drive schools to excel as they compete, but will also give every parent consumer power to obtain an excellent education for his or her child.
Republican leadership has nearly doubled funds for Head Start, making it possible, for the first time, for all eligible four-year-olds to participate, should their parents choose to enroll them. The Bush Administration has put a college education within reach of millions more students, young and old. The President has proposed allowing families to deduct the interest they pay on student loans, and penalty-free withdrawal of IRA funds for educational expenses.
Ensuring High Standards in Knowledge and Skills. For America to compete in a world where 85 percent of all jobs will require high skills, we believe that students not planning to attend college need better opportunities. America's college graduates set the world pace for knowledge and skills. But we also have a strong commitment to the "forgotten half" of the students in our schools, students who will graduate from high school ill-prepared for work. We must must build a well-educated, high-skills workforce to ensure a new century of prosperity for America.
The President has developed a sweeping youth apprenticeship strategy to meet this goal. His plan will ensure that students meet the high standards demanded of all high school students, while training them with a skill as well. We strongly support youth apprenticeships that include a year of college, to encourage a lifetime of learning and opportunity for students.
Our Educational Beliefs. We are confident that the United States can, by the end of this decade, reach the six national education goals that President Bush and the Nation's Governors have established: that all children should arrive at school ready to learn; that high school graduation rates should be at least 90 per cent; that all children should learn challenging subject matter and become responsible citizens; that American children should be first in the world in math and science; that there must be a literate and skilled workforce; and that schools must be disciplined and free of drugs and violence.
We have an uncompromising commitment to improve public education—which means assuring that our schools produce well-educated, responsible citizens—not the maintenance of a government monopoly over the means of educating. American families must be given choice in education. We value the important role played by our private, independent, and parochial schools, colleges, and universities. We believe that their quality is best encouraged by minimizing government regulation.
We believe distance learning is a valuable tool in the fight to bring equal educational opportunity to every student regardless of wealth or geographic location. Distance learning provides students access to the vast educational resources of our Nation.
We encourage the use of modern technology to meet the goal of educational excellence. We support policies that provide access for all instructional and educational programmers to permit them to provide the greatest choice of programming and material to schools and teachers. We also support policies which will encourage the use of all advanced technologies for the delivery of educational and instructional programming in order to give schools and teachers the greatest flexibility in providing creative and innovative instruction. We encourage local school boards to ensure review of these materials by parents and educators.
We support efforts to open the teaching profession by reforming the certification system now barring many talented men and women from the classroom.
Schools should be—as they have been traditionally—academic institutions. Families and communities err when by neglect or design they transfer to the school responsibilities that belong in the home and in the community. Schools were created to help and strengthen families, not to undermine or substitute for them.
Accordingly, we oppose programs in public schools that provide birth control or abortion services or referrals. Instead, we encourage abstinence education programs with proven track records in protecting youth from disease, pregnancy, and drug use.
The critical public mission in education is to set tough, clear standards of achievement and ensure that those who educate our children are accountable for meeting them. This is not just a matter of plans or dollars. Competency testing and merit pay for teachers are essential elements of such accountability.
We are proud of our many dedicated, professional teachers and educators who have committed their lives to educating America's children. We also believe that powerful unions and liberal special interest groups should not be the driving force in education reform.
Just as spiritual principles—our moral compass—help guide public policy, learning must have a moral basis. America must remain neutral toward particular religions, but we must not remain neutral toward religion itself or the values religion supports. Mindful of our country's Judeo-Christian heritage and rich religious pluralism, we support the right of students to engage in voluntary prayer in schools and the right of the community to do so at commencements or other occasions. We will strongly enforce the law guaranteeing equal access to school facilities. We also advocate recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in schools as a reminder of the principles that sustain us as one Nation under God.
Our ambitious vision for America works, however, only in a society of well-educated citizens. The Democrat Party, beholden to the special interests who resist change, can never accomplish the improvements in education which our schools and our children so desperately need. Indeed, they have no plan. The Republican Party has started an education revolution. We have presented a detailed plan which is even now becoming reality. The future of our Nation demands no less. The President is leading the country on an education crusade, a crusade the American people have joined.
For Healthier Families:Promote Health, Prevent Disease, Reform Health Care. Americans receive the finest medical care in the world. We have the best health care providers, the best hospitals, and the best medical technology. People come here from Canada, from Europe, from every part of the globe, to seek procedures and treatments that are either unavailable or strictly rationed in their home countries.
But we must do better. Costs are soaring. Many Americans, responsible for children and aging parents, worry about the quality and price of care. The 1992 election presents all of us with a clear choice. Democrats want a costly, coercive system, imported from abroad, with a budget set by Congress and policies set by bureaucrats. That is a prescription for misery. It would imperil jobs, require billions in new taxes, lower the quality of health care overall, drive health care providers out of the profession, and result in rationing.
The congressional Democrats' health care reform proposal would exclude themselves from coverage under their own program. They refuse to live with the scheme they are trying to force on the rest of the country.
Republicans believe government control of health care is irresponsible and ineffective. We believe health care choices should remain in the hands of the people, not government bureaucrats. This issue truly represents a fundamental difference between the two parties.
We endorse President Bush's comprehensive health care plan, which solves the two major problems of the current system—access and affordability—while preserving the high quality care Americans now enjoy. The President' s plan will make health care more affordable through tax credits and deductions that will offset insurance costs for 95 million Americans; and make health care more accessible, especially for small businesses, by reducing insurance costs and eliminating workers' worries of losing insurance if they change jobs. This plan will expand access to health care by:
• Creating new tax credits and deductions to help low-and middle-income Americans. These tax credits would be available in the form of vouchers for low-income people who work.
• Providing insurance security for working Americans by requiring insurers to cover preexisting conditions.
• Making health insurance premiums fully deductible for the self-employed.
• Making it easier for small firms to purchase coverage for their employees. The proposal would allow small businesses to form health insurance purchasing pools that would make insurance more affordable. It also would guarantee the availability and renewability of insurance for small firms, set premium standards, preempt State mandated-benefit laws, establish minimum coverage plans, and require States to establish risk pools to spread risks broadly across health insurers.
• Addressing the medical malpractice problem by a cap on noneconomic damage recoveries in malpractice claims and an alternative dispute resolution before going to court.
In short, the President aims to make coverage available to all, guaranteed, renewable, with no preconditions. Under his plan, no one will have to go broke to get well.
The Democrats' plan stands in stark philosophical contrast. Instead of preserving individual options, it would rely on government bureaucrats. Instead of preserving quality care, it would lead to rationing and waiting lines. And instead of enhancing the health care security of American workers, it would require a massive increase in payroll taxes that would destroy hundreds of thousands of jobs.
The Democrats' so called "play or pay" proposal would require employers either to provide health insurance for their workers or pay a new tax that would fund in part a new government-run health program. According to a study prepared by the Urban Institute, this mandate would require new federal taxes—or new federal borrowing—of $36 billion in the first year alone. Nearly 52 million Americans who now have private health insurance would be dumped by their employers onto the government-run plan. Additional costs to employers—particularly small employers—would total an estimated $30 billion in the first year. The Republican staff of Congress' Joint Economic Committee estimates that 712,000 people would lose their jobs because of the "play or pay" mandate.
Republicans are also determined to resolve the crisis in medical liability, allowing physicians and certified midwives to deliver babies and practice in underserved areas. Meaningful medical tort reform would assure that doctors would not have to practice medicine under a cloud of potential litigation. We will reduce administrative expenses and paperwork by adopting a uniform claim and data system. We pledge our support for rehabilitation and long-term care coverage. We will curb costs through better prenatal and other preventive care. We encourage the application of the Good Samaritan law to protect health care providers who wish to volunteer their time to provide patient care to the community. We encourage coordinated care in public programs and private insurance. We further support regulatory reforms to speed the development of new drugs and medical technology.
The health care safety net must be secure for those who need preventive, acute, and long-term care. Special consideration should be given to abolishing or reforming programs which prohibit or discourage individuals from seeking to work their way out of poverty and dependency. We will reduce paperwork burdens and redirect those resources to actual services. We will enhance access to medical care through community health centers, which provide primary care in medically underserved areas. We will modify outdated antitrust rules that prohibit hospitals from merging their resources to provide improved, cost-effective health care.
We encourage the use of telecommunications technology to link hospitals in larger communities with heath care facilities in smaller communities. Advanced communications networks will facilitate the sharing of resources, will improve access to affordable health care through the transmission of medical imaging and diagnostics, and will ensure that Americans living in rural areas have the same access to doctors and the latest medical procedures as Americans living in urban areas.
Republicans focus on health, not just health care. We want not only to treat disease and disability, but to reduce and prevent them. Through funding for NIH, we invest in research to cure a range of diseases, from cancer to heart disease, from multiple sclerosis to lupus. We support efforts which foster early cancer detection. Even more important, we rely on individuals to lower the incidence of preventable illness and injury. A large part of our health care costs, public and private, is caused by behavior. Good judgment can save billions of dollars—and perhaps millions of lives.
AIDS. The HIV/AIDS epidemic has exploded over the past decade into a crisis of tragic proportions. In our country, AIDS has already claimed more than 150,000 lives, and as many as one million more Americans may have been infected with the virus.
Epidemics have, throughout history, challenged governments, which have too often been powerless to combat them. Science—and human wisdom—have advanced, however, and we have met this crisis not only with a massive commitment of resources but also with a personal determination on the part of the President. That commitment and leadership will continue.
AIDS should he treated like any other communicable or sexually transmitted disease, while at the same time preserving patient confidentiality. We are committed to ensure that our Nation's response to AIDS is shaped by compassion, not fear or ignorance, and will oppose, as a matter of decency and honor, any discrimination against Americans who are its victims.
We encourage State legislatures to enact legislation which makes it a criminal act for anyone knowingly to transmit the AIDS virus.
We will seek to ensure that medical personnel, and the people who trust in their care, will be protected against infection.
This disease also challenges America scientifically. We must succeed in slowing the epidemic's spread. The Administration has thus placed great emphasis on a variety of prevention efforts to do so. We must recognize, also, that prevention is linked ultimately to personal responsibility and moral behavior. We reject the notion that the distribution of clean needles and condoms are the solution to stopping the spread of AIDS. Education designed to curb the spread of this disease should stress marital fidelity, abstinence, and a drug-free lifestyle. There must be a means for successfully treating the virus, and this has led to a threefold increase in research and steps to speed the approval process for new drugs that could make a crucial difference to those infected. Above all, a cure must be found. We have committed enormous resources—$4.2 billion over the past four years for research alone, more than for any disease except cancer. In keeping with the American spirit, our fellow citizens with HIV/AIDS deserve our compassion and our care, and they deserve our united commitment to a cure.
Healthy Families. Responsible families are the key to wellness. They are the best guard against infant mortality and child abuse. We support programs to help mothers and their babies get a good start in life; and we call for strong action, at all levels of government, to enforce parental responsibility with regard to alcohol, drugs, and neglect.
We applaud the President's initiatives to require the involvement of more women in clinical trials and to create within NIH a center to combat breast and cervical cancer. We also call for expanded research on various diseases, common to both men and women, but whose effects on women have yet to be determined. We call for fetal protection in the workplace and in scientific research.
The Homeless. The Bush Administration has worked vigorously to address this tragedy, believing that involuntary homelessness in America is unacceptable. Accordingly, the Administration has proposed $4 billion in homeless assistance, an amount cut back by the Democrat-controlled Congress. We have also implemented a SHELTER PLUS CARE program designed to assist homeless persons who are mentally ill, chemically dependent, or stricken with AIDS. Republicans remain determined to help the homeless as a matter of ethical commitment as well as sound public policy.
Older Americans. The interests of older Americans are addressed throughout this Platform, for the elderly play an honored role in all walks of American life. From reducing inflation to fighting crime, from quality health care to a cleaner environment, the Republican agenda for all has particular relevance to those who have worked the longest and grown the wisest.
We reaffirm our commitment to a strong Social Security system. To stop penalizing grandparents and other seniors who care for children, we pledge to continue the Republican crusade to end the earnings limitation for Social Security recipients. More than ever, our Nation needs older Americans in its schools and workplaces. There should be no barriers to their full participation in our country' s future. We pledge support for greater availability of long-term care and for research to combat Alzheimer's disease. Republicans also took the lead in expanding home health care in government programs, and we want to build on that accomplishment.
Promoting Cultural Values. The culture of our Nation has traditionally supported those pillars on which civilized society is built: personal responsibility, morality, and the family. Today, however, these pillars are under assault. Elements within the media, the entertainment industry, academia, and the Democrat Party are waging a guerrilla war against American values. They deny personal responsibility, disparage traditional morality, denigrate religion, and promote hostility toward the family's way of life. Children, the members of our society most vulnerable to cultural influences, are barraged with violence and promiscuity, encouraging reckless and irresponsible behavior. This undermines the authority of parents, the ones most responsible for passing on to their offspring a sense of right and wrong. The lesson our Party draws is important—that all of us, individuals and corporations alike, have a responsibility to reflect the values we expect our fellow citizens to exhibit. And if children grow to adulthood reflecting not the values of their parents but the amorality with which they are bombarded, those who send such messages cannot duck culpability.
One example is the advocacy of violence against law enforcement officers, promoted by a corporation more interested in profits than the possible consequences of such a message. We believe, in the spirit of Theodore Roosevelt, that corporations, like individuals, have responsibilities to society, and that conscience alone should prevent such outrages.
We also stand united with those private organizations, such as the Boy Scouts of America, who are defending decency in fulfillment of their own moral responsibilities. We reject the irresponsible position of those corporations that have cut off contributions to such organizations because of their courageous stand for family values. Moreover, we oppose efforts by the Democrat Party to include sexual preference as a protected minority receiving preferential status under civil rights statutes at the federal, State, and local level.
We oppose any legislation or law which legally recognizes same-sex marriages and allows such couples to adopt children or provide foster care.
We must recognize that the time has come for a national crusade against pornography. Some would have us believe that obscenity and pornography have no social impact. But if hard-core pornography does not cheapen the human spirit, then neither does Shakespeare elevate it. We call on federal agencies to halt the sale, under government auspices, of pornographic materials. We endorse Republican legislation, the Pornography Victims Compensation Act, allowing victims of pornography to seek damages from those who make or sell it, especially since the Commission on Pornography, in 1986, found a direct link between pornography and violent crimes committed against women and children. Further, we propose a computerized federal registry to track persons convicted of molesting children. We also believe that the various State legislatures should create a civil cause of action against makers and distributors of pornography when their material incites a violent crime.
Government has a responsibility, as well, to ensure that it promotes the common moral values that bind us together as a Nation. We therefore condemn the use of public funds to subsidize obscenity and blasphemy masquerading as art. The fine arts, including those with public support, can certainly enrich our society. However, no artist has an inherent right to claim taxpayer support for his or her private vision of art if that vision mocks the moral and spiritual basis on which our society is founded. We believe a free market in art—with neither suppression nor favoritism by government—is the best way to foster the cultural revival our country needs.
Individual Rights, Good Homes and Safe Streets
At a time when the rest of the world has rejected socialism, there are communities here at home where free markets have not been permitted to flourish. Decades of liberalism have left us with two economies. The pro-growth economy rewards effort, promotes thrift, and supports strong families. The other economy stifles initiative and is anti-work and anti-family. In one economy, people are free to be owners and entrepreneurs. In the other economy, people are at the mercy of government. We are determined to elevate the poor into the pro-growth economy.
Republicans will lead a new national consensus around economic opportunity, greater access to property, home ownership and housing, jobs and entrepreneurship. We must bring the great promise of America to every city, every small town, and to all our people.
Our agenda for equality of opportunity runs throughout this Platform and applies to all Americans. There is no such thing as segregated success. We reject the Democrats' politics of division, envy and conflict. They believe that America is split into classes and can be healed only through the redistribution of wealth. We believe in the economics of multiplication: free markets expand opportunity and wealth for all.
That is true liberation. It frees poor people not only from want but also from government control. That is why liberal Democrats have fought us every step of the way, refusing congressional action on Enterprise Zones until Los Angeles burned—and then mocking the expectations of the poor by gutting that critical proposal. They can kill bills, but they cannot kill hope. We are determined to pass that legislation for the sake of all who are awaiting their chance for the American Dream.
We will eliminate laws that keep Americans out of jobs, like the outdated ban on home work. The antiquated Davis-Bacon Act inflates taxpayer costs and keeps willing workers from getting jobs in federally-assisted projects. It must go. Unlike the Democrats, we believe the private sector, not the federal government, should set prevailing wage rates.
As explained elsewhere in this Platform, low-income families must gain control of their future through choice in their children' s education.
Rebuilding the Dream. Our Party has always championed the American dream of home ownership. Abraham Lincoln wanted all families to have access to property, because it would give them a tangible stake in their family's future. As families built homes and improved the land, they built a brighter future for themselves and a legacy for their children. Lincoln's Homestead Act of 1862 did all this without enlarging government. It empowered families.
In the tradition of Lincoln, President Bush has replicated the American dream of home-ownership. For first-time home buyers, he has proposed a $5,000 tax credit. For lower-income families, he has worked to restore opportunity through HOPE, his initiative to help tenants now dependent on federal aid to buy their own homes; Mortgage Revenue Bonds, to assist more than 1.9 million families to buy a first home; Low Income Housing Tax Credits, already producing more than 420,000 decent apartments at affordable prices; and HOME, a partnership among all levels of government to help low-income families secure better housing.
For everyone, but especially for the poor, the best housing policy is non-inflationary economic growth with low interest rates, the heart of our opportunity agenda.
Ending Dependency. Welfare is the enemy of opportunity and stable family life. Two decades ago, decisions about public assistance were taken away from States and communities and given to Washington officials. Since then, almost everything has gone wrong. Since 1965, we have spent $3.5 trillion on welfare.
It bought a horrendous expansion of dependence, especially among mothers and children.
Today's welfare system is anti-work and anti-marriage. It taxes families to subsidize illegitimacy. It rewards unethical behavior and penalizes initiative. It cannot be merely tinkered with by Congress; it must be recreated by States and localities. Republican Governors and legislators in several States have already launched dramatic reforms, especially with workfare and leanfare. Welfare can no longer be a check in the mail with no responsibility.
We believe fathers and mothers must be held responsible for their children. We support stronger enforcement of child support laws. We call for strong enforcement and tough penalties against welfare fraud and insist that work must be a mandatory part of public assistance for all who are able to work. Because divorce, desertion, and illegitimacy account for almost all the increase in child poverty over the last 20 years, we put the highest priority upon enforcement of family rights and responsibilities.
Among these responsibilities is the obligation to get an education—a key to avoiding dependency. Families on welfare with school-age children must be required to send them to school or provide adequate home education in keeping with various State laws in order to continue receiving public assistance. Young adult heads of welfare households should be required to complete appropriate education or training programs.
Safe Homes and Streets. One of the first duties of government is to protect the public security—to maintain law and order so that citizens are free to pursue the fruits of life and liberty. The Democrats have forsaken this solemn pledge. Instead of protecting society from hardened criminals, they blame society and refuse to hold accountable for their actions individuals who have chosen to engage in violent and criminal conduct. This has led to the state of affairs in which we find ourselves today.
Violent crime is the gravest domestic threat to our way of life. It has turned our communities into battlegrounds, playgrounds into grave yards. It threatens everyone, but especially the very young, the elderly, the weak. It destroys business and suffocates economic opportunity in struggling communities. It is a travesty that some American children have to sleep in bathtubs for protection from stray bullets. The poverty of values that justifies drive-by shootings and random violence holds us hostage and insecure, even in our own homes. We must work to develop community-help projects designed to instill a sense of responsibility and pride.
This is the legacy of a liberalism that elevates criminals' fights above victims' rights, that justifies soft-on-crime judges' approving early-release prison programs, and that leaves law enforcement officers powerless to deter crime with the threat of certain punishment.
For twelve years, two Republican Presidents have fought to reverse this trend, along with Republican officials in the States. They have named tough law-and-order judges, pushed for minimum mandatory sentences, expanded federal assistance to States and localities, sought to help States redress court orders on prison overcrowding, and devoted record resources that are turning the tide against drugs. They have repeatedly proposed legislation, consistently rejected by congressional Democrats, to restore the severest penalties for the most heinous crimes, to ensure swift and certain punishment, and to end the legal loopholes that let criminals go free.
Congressional Democrats reject Republican reform of the exclusionary rule that prohibits use of relevant evidence obtained in good faith and allows criminals, even murderers, to go free on a technicality. They reject our reform of habeas corpus law to prevent the appellate process from becoming a lawyers' game to thwart justice through endless appeals and procedural delays. They refuse to enact effective procedures to reinstate the death penalty for the most heinous crimes. They reject tougher, mandatory sentences for career criminals. Instead, Congressional Democrats actually voted to create more loopholes for vicious thugs and fewer protections for victims of crime and have opposed mandatory restitution for victims. Their crime legislation, which we emphatically reject, cripples law enforcement by overturning over twenty United States Supreme Court cases that have helped to reduce crime and keep violent criminal offenders off the streets.
For too long our criminal justice system has carefully protected the rights of criminals and neglected the suffering of the innocent victims of crime and their families. We support the rights of crime victims to be present, heard, and informed throughout the criminal justice process and to be provided with restitution and services to aid their recovery.
We believe in giving police the resources to do their job. Law enforcement must remain primarily a State and local responsibility. With 95 percent of all violent crimes within the jurisdiction of the States, we have led efforts to increase the number of police protecting our citizens. We also support incentives to encourage personnel leaving the Armed Forces to continue to defend their country—against the enemy within—by entering the law enforcement profession.
Narcotics traffic drives street crime. President Bush has, for the first time, used the resources of our Armed Forces against the international drug trade. By our insistence, multilateral control of precursor chemicals and money laundering is now an international priority. We decry efforts by congressional Democrats to slash international anti-narcotics funding and inhibit the most vital control efforts in Peru. We support efforts to work with South and Central American leaders to eradicate crops used to produce illegal narcotics.
The Republican Party is committed to a drug-free America. During the last twelve years, we have radically reversed the Democrats' attitude of tolerance toward narcotics, vastly increased federal operations against drugs, cleaned up the military, and launched mandatory testing for employees in various fields, including White House personnel. As a result, overall drug abuse is falling. We urge that States and communities emphasize anti-drug education by police officers and others in schools to educate young children to the dangers of the chug culture. Dope is no longer trendy.
We oppose legalizing or decriminalizing drugs. That is a morally abhorrent idea, the last vestige of an ill-conceived philosophy that counseled the legitimacy of permissiveness. Today, a similarly dysfunctional morality explains away drug-dealing as an escape, and drive-by shootings as an act of political violence. There is no excuse for the wanton destruction of human life. We therefore support the stiffest penalties, including the death penalty, for major chug traffickers.
Drug users must face punishment, including fines and imprisonment, for contributing to the demand that makes the drug trade profitable. Among possible sanctions should be the loss of government assistance and suspension of drivers' licenses. Residents of public housing should be able to protect their families against drugs by screening out abusers and dealers. We support grassroots action to drive dealers and crack-houses out of operation.
Safe streets also mean highways that are free of drunken drivers and drivers under the influence of illegal drugs. Republicans support the toughest possible State laws to deal with drunken drivers and users of illegal drugs, who deserve no sympathy from our courts or State legislatures. We also oppose the illicit abuse of legal chugs.
White-collar crime threatens homes and families in a different way. It steals secretly, forcing up prices, rigging contracts, swindling consumers, and harming the overwhelming majority of business people, who play fair and obey the law. We support imprisonment for those who steal from the American people. We pledge an all out fight against it, especially within the political machines that control many of our major cities. We will continue to bring to justice corrupt politicians and those who collude with them to plunder savings and loans.
New Members of the American Family. Our Nation of immigrants continues to welcome those seeking a better life. This reflects our past, when some newcomers fled intolerance; some sought prosperity; some came as slaves. All suffered and sacrificed but hoped their children would have a better life. All searched for a shared vision—and found one in America. Today we are stronger for our diversity.
Illegal entry into the United States, on the other hand, threatens the social compact on which immigration is based. That is, the Nation accepts immigrants and is enriched by their determination and values. Illegal immigration, on the other hand, undermines the integrity of border communities and already crowded urban neighborhoods. We will build on the already announced strengthening of the Border Patrol to better coordinate interdiction of illegal entrants through greater cross-border cooperation. Specifically, we will increase the size of the Border Patrol in order to meet the increasing need to stop illegal immigration and we will equip the Border Patrol with the tools, technologies, and structures necessary to secure the border.
We will seek stiff penalties for those who smuggle illegal aliens into the country, and for those who produce or sell fraudulent documents. We also will reduce incentives to enter the United States by promoting initiatives like the North American Free Trade Agreement. In creating new economic opportunity in Mexico, a NAFTA removes the incentive to cross the border illegally in search of work.
Individual Rights. The protection of individual rights is the foundation for opportunity and security.
The Republican Party is unique in this regard. Since its inception, it has respected every person, even when that proposition was not universally popular. Today, as in the day of Lincoln, we insist that no American' s rights are negotiable.
That is why we declare that bigotry and prejudice have no place in American life. We denounce all who practice or promote racism, anti-Semitism, or religious intolerance. We believe churches and religious schools should not be taxed; we defend the right of religious leaders to speak out on public issues; and we condemn the cowardly desecration of places of worship that has shocked our country in recent years.
Asserting equal rights for all, we support the Bush Administration's vigorous enforcement of statutes to prevent illegal discrimination on account of sex, race, creed, or national origin. Promoting opportunity, we reject efforts to replace equal rights with quotas or other preferential treatment. That is why President Bush fought so long against the Democrat Congress to win a civil rights bill worthy of that name.
We renew the historic Republican commitment to the rights of women, from the early days of the suffragist movement to the present. Because legal rights mean little without opportunity, we assert economic growth as the key to the continued progress of women in all fields of American life.
We believe the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We therefore reaffirm our support for a human life amendment to the Constitution, and we endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment's protections apply to unborn children. We oppose using public revenues for abortion and will not fund organizations which advocate it. We commend those who provide alternatives to abortion by meeting the needs of mothers and offering adoption services. We reaffirm our support for appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life.
President Bush signed into law the greatest advance ever for disabled persons: The Americans with Disabilities Act, a milestone in removing barriers to full participation in our country's life. We will fully implement it, with sensitivity to the needs of small businesses, just as we have earlier legal protections for the disabled in federal programs. We oppose the nonconsensual withholding of health care or treatment from any person because of handicap, age, or infirmity, just as we oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide.
We support full access to the polls, and the entire political process, by disabled voters. We will ensure that students with disabilities benefit from AMERICA 2000's new emphasis on testing for excellence and accountability for results.
Promoting the rights of the disabled requires, before all else, an expanding economy, both to advance assistive technology and to create opportunities for personal advancement. That is another reason why Republicans are committed to growth.
We reaffirm our commitment to the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution: "No person shall be...deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation." We support strong enforcement of this Takings clause to keep citizens secure in the use and development of their property. We also seek to reduce the amount of land owned or controlled by the government, especially in the western States. We insist upon prompt payment for private lands certified as critical for preserving essential parks and preserves.
Republicans defend the constitutional right to keep and bear arms. We call for stiff mandatory sentences for those who use firearms in a crime. We note that those who seek to disarm citizens in their homes are the same liberals who tried to disarm our Nation during the Cold War and are today seeking to cut our national defense below safe levels. We applaud congressional Republicans for overturning the District of Columbia's law blaming firearm manufacturers for street crime.
We affirm the right of individuals to form, join, or assist labor organizations to bargain collectively, consistent with State laws. We support the right of States to enact Right-to-Work laws.
A Republican Congress will amend the Hobbs Act, so that union officials will not be exempt from the law' s prohibition against extortion and violence. We call for greater legal protection from violence for workers who stay on the job during strikes.
We support self-determination for Indian Tribes in managing their own affairs and resources. Recognizing the government-to-government trust responsibility, we aim to end dependency fostered by federal controls. Reservations and tribal lands held in trust should be free to become enterprise zones so their people can fully share in the Nation's prosperity. We will work with tribal governments to improve education, health, economic opportunity, and environmental conditions. We endorse efforts to preserve the culture and languages of Native Americans and Hawaiians and to ensure their equitable participation in federal programs.
Uniting Our Country
Over the last four years, the United States has achieved our overriding objective since the end of World War II. Communism and other forms of planned economies lie in the ash heap of history, defeated not only by our military strength but by the force of our ideas-democracy and free enterprise.
Now a huge international market is evolving. Combined with America's low inflation and low interest rate environment, it presents us with unprecedented economic opportunity. We commit to the proposition that the American economy will remain first in the world. This is our goal. Achieving it will ensure that our people will enjoy the jobs, benefits, and economic growth to sustain the American dream for themselves and their posterity.
Republicans believe that the greatest engine for social change and economic progress is the entrepreneurial economy. We believe that America has broken down the lines of class to a greater degree than any society on earth, not because of government but because of an economic system that allows men and women to create wealth for themselves and their communities. We believe that positive change can occur and benefit all Americans if we continue to remove governmental barriers to entrepreneurship and, thus, economic growth.
Our cause embraces traditional ideals and modern realities. It both reforms and innovates. We aim to shape history through faith in one another. Because we look forward, we emphasize saving, investment, and job creation. We encourage innovation and the entrepreneurial spirit that are, together, part of our national character. We both conserve and develop our natural resources. Because we have learned from the past, we are determined to change what desperately needs changing in government.
Government does not have all the answers, but we know where to find them: in the spirit of our people. We know the weapons for this battle: economic and political liberty in the pursuit of happiness. We understand that material gain improves life only if it lifts us all to pursue higher ends: self-respect, work and study, a decent life and future for our children, and a useful old age.
So we rededicate ourselves to the truths the Nation keeps coming back to—the simple, spiritual truths about our family, our country, our world—for upon them we will build our more perfect union.
Security and Opportunity in a Changing Economy
Our economy is people, not statistics. The American people, not government, rescued the United States from an economic collapse triggered by Democrats in the 1970s. Crippled by taxes, robbed by inflation, threatened by controls, stunned by interest rates, the people ended America's decline and restored hope across our country and around our world.
We launched an era of growth and prosperity such as the world had never seen: 20 million new jobs in the longest peacetime economic expansion in the history of the Republic. We curbed the size and power of the federal establishment. We lowered tax rates. We restored a sound dollar. We unleashed the might of free people to produce, compete, and triumph in free markets. We gave them the tools; they completed the job.
During the 1980s and into the present decade, the U.S. economy once again became the engine of global growth. Inflation has fallen to its lowest level in 30 years. Interest rates dropped 15 percentage points. Productivity has sharply risen. Exports are booming. Despite a global downturn in late 1990, real economic growth resumed last year and has continued for five consecutive quarters. With low interest rates and low inflation, the American economy is poised for stronger growth through the rest of the 1990s. Keeping inflation and interest rates low and stable through a sound monetary policy is essential for economic growth.
These gains were made in spite of the leaders of the Democrat Party. They continue to delay and defeat the President's agenda for growth, jobs, and prosperity. Spending faster than ever, they blocked Republican reforms that would have saved billions of wasted taxpayer dollars. They refused to give the President a line-item veto to curb their self-serving pork-barrel projects.
The congressional Democrat Leadership killed the Taxpayer Protection Amendment for a balanced budget in the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives. It was supported by 98 percent of the Republican Members; 57 percent of the Democrat Members voted no. Then they rigged parliamentary procedures to forbid a vote on that Amendment in the Democrat-controlled Senate. Every Republican Senator voted twice to end the filibuster, while more than 70 percent of the Democrats voted, twice, to keep the filibuster going. Their nominee this year for the Vice Presidency supported the filibuster and spurned the Balanced Budget Amendment.
They played citizens against one another, wallowing in the politics of hate and envy to smear the wonder of social mobility. They lied about America's achievement in the 1980s, rewriting history to erase the true accomplishments of the American people.
Keeping what you earn. The test of economic policy is whether it promotes economic growth and expands job opportunities. Lower taxes and an expanding economy depend on long term, consistent restraint in the growth of federal spending.
In 1990, as the deficit was threatening to balloon and further harm the economy, the President pushed for cuts in government spending overall and for caps on mandatory spending. The Democrat Congress insisted, however, on a tax hike as their price for controlling spending. In short, the Democrats held the U.S. economy—and U.S. jobs—hostage in order to raise taxes, much as they had done to President Reagan.
Just as they did with President Reagan, the Democrat-controlled Congress promised President Bush they would abide by binding controls on federal spending; and just as with President Reagan, they broke their word. Republicans will not again agree to such a program.
This year, to create jobs and promote growth, President Bush submitted a program of tax cuts and incentives designed to get the economy moving again—a program very similar to one he had sent to Congress in early 1990. The Democrats' response was predictable—instead of cutting taxes, they passed a $100 billion tax increase that would have smothered growth and jobs. The President, true to our Republican philosophy, vetoed this tax hike, and sustained his veto with the support of Republicans in Congress.
Now a new Democrat nominee comes forward with his plan for the economy. With a clean piece of paper, and every opportunity to end his party's romance with taxes, he has instead proposed the largest tax increase in American history. His tax increases, his proposed mandated benefits on small firms, and his further reductions in defense would cost the jobs of 2.6 million Americans. With his present spending increases, his plan would greatly increase the federal budget and the deficit.
The simple truth for the American people is this: The only safeguard between themselves and Democrat tax increases is the use of the veto by George Bush and enough Republican votes in Congress to sustain it.
The truth is that the Democrat philosophy of bigger government and rigorous redistribution of income requires them to push for ever increasing spending and ever higher taxes.
The choice is clear—between George Bush, who vetoes tax increases, and his opponent, who proposes a $150 billion tax increase.
Our Republican position is equally clear: we will oppose any attempt to increase taxes. Furthermore, Republicans believe that the taxes insisted on by the Democrats in the 1990 budget agreement were recessionary. The Democrat Congress held President Bush and indeed all Americans hostage, refusing to take even modest steps to control spending, unless taxes were increased. The American economy suffered as a result. We believe the tax increases of 1990 should ultimately be repealed.
Just as history shows that tax increases destroy jobs and economic growth, it also shows that the proper path to create jobs and growth is tax rate reduction.
We commend those congressional and senatorial candidates who pledge to oppose tax rate increases.
As the deficit comes under control, we aspire to further tax rate cuts, strengthening incentives to work, save, invest, and innovate. We also support President Bush's efforts to reduce federal spending and to cap the growth of non-Social Security entitlements.
Republicans want individuals and families to control their own economic destiny. Only long-term expansion of our economy and jobs can make the American dream a reality for generations to come. That is why we demand that the Congress do what President Bush called for last January: open a new era of growth and opportunity by enacting his comprehensive plan for economic recovery, including a reduction in the capital gains tax; an investment tax allowance; a $5,000 tax credit for first-time home buyers; a needed modification of the "passive loss rule"; a $500 increase in the personal income tax exemption; making permanent the research and development tax credit; and the passage of federal enterprise zone legislation.
We support restoring the deductibility of IRAs for all Americans, including full-time homemakers, and encourage savings for education and home ownership through Family Savings Accounts. The President's Family Savings Accounts will be an impetus to the economy. Let families use their IRAs for first time home purchases, for college education, and for medical emergencies.
We will cut the capital gains tax rate to 15 percent—zero in enterprise zones—and index it so government cannot profit from inflation by taxing phantom capital gains, literally stealing from savings and pensions.
We reject the notion advanced by Democrats that this enhances the wealthy. To the contrary, it would encourage investment, create new jobs, make capital available for business expansion, and contribute to economic expansion.
Reducing the tax on investment will be the biggest possible boost for the new technologies, businesses, and jobs we need for the next century. If government taxes capital gains at such a high rate that there is no incentive to take risks, to build businesses, to invest, to create jobs, or to better oneself, then jobs and small businesses vanish and everyone's opportunities are diminished.
Cutting the rate, on the other hand, will help supply seed capital where it is needed most—in our poorest communities. Refusing to cut it will handcuff America in international competition and will shackle aspiring entrepreneurs in inner cities and poor rural areas. To encourage investment in new technologies, we will make permanent the research and development tax credit. For the same reason, we want to expand deductibility for investments in new plant and equipment.
We support further tax simplification. The tax code should create jobs for Americans, not profits for tax lawyers, lobbyists, and tax-shelters. Small businesses should spend more time hiring and producing, not filling out IRS forms.
We oppose taxing religious and ethnic fraternal benefit societies because of their vital role in fostering charity and patriotism.
We also oppose tax withholding on savings and dividends.
We applaud the efforts by President Bush to help workers who change jobs by enhancing the portability of pensions.
Leading Democrat Members of Congress have called for a national sales tax, or European style Value Added Tax (VAT), which would take billions of dollars out of the hands of American consumers. Such a tax has been imposed on many nations in Europe and has resulted in higher prices, fewer jobs, and higher levels of government spending. Republicans oppose the idea of putting a VAT on the backs of the American people.
Republicans believe in expanding the economy. Jobs and growth are our answer to the future.
The Future is the Family. The most dramatic change in the tax code in our lifetime is one that has never been explicitly enacted by Congress or reported as a specific news event. It is the gradual, year by year erosion of the personal exemption, until it was indexed by a Republican Administration in 1986.
Republicans also led the way in the 1980s by increasing the personal exemption from $1500 to $2000. This platform calls for another immediate increase of $500, but in the long run we are committed to fully restoring the inflation-adjusted value of the personal exemption. This will require reductions in federal spending, which is why the best hope for tax fairness for America's families lies in a Republican Congress.
Liberation Through Deregulation. Government regulation is a hidden tax on American families, costing each household more than $5,000 every year. It stifles job creation and hobbles our national competitiveness. The "Iron Triangle" of special interests, federal bureaucrats, and Democrat congressional staff is robbing consumers and producers alike.
We support President Bush's freeze on new regulations. We applaud his Competitiveness Council, under Vice President Quayle, for fighting the regulatory mania, saving the public $20 billion with its initial 90-day moratorium on new regulations and billions more under the current 120-day freeze. We call for a permanent moratorium until our regulatory reforms are fully in place. They include market-based regulation, cost-benefit analysis of all new rule-making, and a Regulatory Budget that will make Congress admit—and correct—the harm it does by legislation that destroys jobs and competitiveness.
We recognize that property rights are being endangered by government over-regulation. We reaffirm the Constitutional right to private ownership of property; this right is paramount in our free society. Every rule that reduces the value of private property is what our Constitution calls a "taking." This under-the-table taxation is unfair, immoral, and economically destructive. We support legislation to require full compensation of property owners who are victims of regulatory takings.
Home ownership. The best housing policy is a non-inflationary, growing economy that has produced low mortgage rates and has made housing more affordable.
We demand Congress enact President's Bush's housing program introduced as part of his pro-growth package in January.
Provide a $5,000 tax credit for first-time home buyers and allow them penalty-free IRA withdrawals.
Set a modified "passive loss rule" for active real estate investors.
Extend tax preferences for mortgage revenue bonds and low-income housing.
And allow deductions for losses on personal residences.
The average American' s home is his or her primary asset. That asset should be completely shielded from federal taxation, allowing the homeowner to maintain it or access it as he or she sees fit. We call for the complete elimination of the capital gains tax on the sale of a principal residence.
Owning a home is not just an investment. It is a commitment to the community, a guard against crime, a statement about family life. It is a crucial component of upward mobility. To advance these goals, Republicans are determined to preserve deductibility of mortgage interest.
Bureaucratic government imposes too many regulatory barriers to affordable housing. These barriers must come down.
We applaud efforts in the States to lower property taxes, which strike hardest at the poor, elderly, families with children, and family farmers. We advocate repeal of rent control laws, which help the affluent and hurt low-income families by causing housing shortages.
We support the FHA mortgage insurance program, the Government National Mortgage Association, the VA guarantee program, and other programs that enhance housing choices for all. We urge federal departments and agencies to work with the private sector to bring foreclosed housing stock back into service as soon as possible.
We reaffirm our commitment to open housing, without quotas or controls, as part of the opportunity we seek for all.
For low-income families, the Republican Party stands for a revolution in housing by converting public housing into homes owned by low-income Americans. President Bush is eager to work closely with the States to fight and win a new conservative war on poverty. The truest measure of our success will not be how many families we add to housing assistance rolls but, rather, how many families move into the ranks of homeownership. But every part of that opportunity agenda has been thwarted by landlord Democrats in Congress. We ask the electorate: End the strangulation of divided government. Give Republicans the chance to move housing policy off the Democrat Party plantation into the main-stream of American life. Resident management and ownership of public housing reflect this American mission, not only to assure political freedom but to allow all our fellow citizens to build a better life for themselves and their children.
Congressional Democrats have consistently blocked efforts to repeal the earnings test which prevents people over age 65 from keeping their jobs and remaining productive members of the workforce. The Social Security earnings test discriminates against senior citizens. These senior citizens have to pay the highest marginal tax rate of any Americans. We support repeal of the Social Security earnings test.
Controlling Government Spending. For 12 years, Republicans in the White House and Congress have battled a Democrat system corrupt and contemptuous of the American taxpayer. Our Republican Presidents have vetoed one reckless bill after another. But liberal Democrats still control a rigged machine that keeps on spending the public' s money.
The only solution is for the voters to end divided government so that a Republican Congress can enact the Balanced Budget Amendment, requiring a super-majority for any future tax increases. And since the Democrat-controlled Congress has consistently voted clown a line-item veto amendment for the President to control specific wasteful pork barrel spending, a Republican Congress will adopt a line-item veto for the Presidency, restore Presidential power to rescind spending and to lower specific appropriations.
Deficits lave grown as Democrat Congresses have converted government assistance programs into entitlements and allowed spending to become uncontrolled. A Republican Congress, working with a Republican President, will consider non-Social Security mandatory spending portions of the federal budget when looking for savings.
When legislators and bureaucrats waste tax money, they deserve to lose their jobs. When they save money, they deserve praise. When federal programs have outlived their usefulness, they deserve a decent burial. When federal judges dare to seize the power of the purse, by ordering the imposition of taxes, they should be removed from office by the procedures provided by the Constitution.
The latest Democrat scam is to raise taxes for "investment"—a code word for more government spending. A Republican Congress will foster investment where it does the most good, by individuals within the private sector.
Job Creation and Small Business Opportunities. The engines of growth in a free economy are small businesses and jobs. Almost 99 percent of all businesses in America are considered small. Small business is the backbone of the American economy. For the past 12 years it has led the way in economic growth.
Small business generates 67 percent of all new jobs. Employment in industries dominated by small business increased more than twice as fast as in industries dominated by large businesses. Small business plays a critical role in America's economic health. What happens on Main Street drives what happens on Wall Street.
To create jobs and keep small business growing, the Republican Party supports increased access to capital for business expansion, exporting, long term investment, opportunity capital for the disadvantaged, and capital to bring new products and new technology to the market.
The Republican Party enthusiastically encourages the passage of federal enterprise zones. Enterprise zones have been effective programs for promoting growth in urban and rural America. Republicans believe that the concept of enterprise zones is based on unyielding faith in the entrepreneurial spirit of all Americans. Enterprise zones foster individual initiative and government deregulation. The States have come a long way in developing successful enterprise zone programs. State programs could only benefit from federal efforts. Congress should follow the lead of President Bush and HUD Secretary Jack Kemp in passing the federal enterprise zone program that will empower communities by reducing government regulation and taxation.
The implementation of enterprise zones as an incentive for job creation and business development is also essential to further job and business opportunities. These efforts are bolstered by continued support of job training and minority business development programs, which have been created and implemented by the President's Administration within the last three years. This is of special import to women, who own 32 percent of the Nation's businesses, most of them small ones.
Because the regulation of securities markets bars most small businesses from easy access to capital, we also support the Small Business Administration's Section 7(a) loan guarantee program and similar efforts that essentially compensate for the burdens government itself imposes upon entrepreneurs.
Leading the Information Age. The Nation's telecommunications infrastructure will be essential to growth and competitiveness in the information age. The most far-reaching transformation of daily life since the harnessing of electricity will mean unprecedented opportunity for rural areas, reduced commuting, health care in the home, and empowerment for the disabled.
Today, however, government policy at both the federal and State levels is standing in the way of this telecommunications progress. Existing judicial, legislative, and regulatory market allocation schemes constitute a counterproductive industrial policy by prohibiting the full participation by all providers in all segments of the telecommunications marketplace. We need to liberate this future-oriented technology and, in turn, empower the American people by giving consumers a truly competitive choice and lower prices.
As a result, we Republicans believe that full and open competition in the telecommunications marketplace is the most effective means for the U. S. to achieve our goal of having the most technologically advanced telecommunications infrastructure in the world.
Jobs Through Science and Technology. We believe technology holds the key to America' s future—and the future is bright. America is not in decline. America is still the land of opportunity. The new horizon is science and technology. New discoveries, new challenges, and new opportunities await us. Science and technology offer us change—exciting, dramatic, and positive change in the well-being of every American.
Scientific research and development in genetics, biotechnology, and electronics will provide better, more affordable health care for all Americans. Distance learning, through technology, will help bring exciting, quality, affordable education to all students, even in rural areas and inner cities. Technology will help us conquer disease, protect the environment, and provide a more abundant, healthier food supply. And technology will lead to better jobs and a better quality of life for all of us—and for our children and our children's children.
Scientific and technological developments in telecommunications, high performance computers, high speed data networks, digitization, advanced software, biotechnology, high energy physics, advanced materials, superconductors, manufacturing processes, energy, transportation, agriculture, oceanography, atmospheric studies, geological research, space, and the environment are some of the keys to increases in productivity. And increases in productivity will create economic growth and a higher standard of living for all of us. Technology is also critical to our national defense.
We believe America must make technological development one of its highest priorities. We therefore support efforts to promote science and technology—providing funding for basic research, supporting investment in emerging technologies, improving education in science and engineering, enhancing tax credits for research and development, eliminating unnecessary regulation to create competitive markets, and protecting intellectual property. We further support efforts to increase the pace of technology transfer from the government to the private sector, where the fruits of this research can be used in the free market to create new processes, products, and most important, jobs.
We believe these policies will make us internationally competitive and will lead to a bright and prosperous future for our Nation.
President Bush has provided leadership in this arena by developing budgets allocating major new resources to scientific endeavors. The National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the research and development program in the Departments of Energy and Commerce have all become budget priorities under the President's leadership. The sad fact is, however, that the Democrat Congress has cut steadily and sharply in science areas in order to expand spending on social programs. This is short-sighted; the truth is that American innovation in science and engineering will expand our economy and jobs to greater social advantage to all Americans. A Republican Congress working with President Bush would reflect our interest in advancing scientific inquiry and assuring the resulting economic benefits for all Americans.
Space. We are a pioneer people. Today's telecommunications revolution began with the first satellites of the Eisenhower years. So too, what we now do—or fail to do—in space will determine the future for generations to come.
That is why President Bush established the National Space Council under Vice President Quayle. Together, they rescued a floundering program, revamped NASA, opened up competition, and engaged the best minds of academia and research in a twofold mission for mankind. Mission to Planet Earth will define and perhaps mitigate effects on our fragile environment. Mission from Planet Earth will open space for science and industry. Especially in this Columbian year, we hail the President's decision "to return to the moon, this time to stay, and then a journey to tomorrow, a mission to Mars."
Investments in space, though aimed at the future, pay dividends right now—in research and medicine, in international competitiveness and domestic opportunity. This must not be diverted to political pork barrels. The journey to the stars used to be a bipartisan adventure, but many Democrat officeholders have jumped ship.
Republicans, by contrast, are determined to complete Space Station Freedom within this decade. Our agenda is to lower the cost of access to space, and to broaden that access to the private sector, with a family of new launchers; to build and fly sensors for the global environment; and to advance cutting-edge capabilities like the National Aerospace Plane and single-stage-to-orbit rockets, so technological breakthroughs can be quickly exploited. We will promote space-based industry and ensure that space remains a frontier for private enterprise, not a restricted preserve for government. We will continue international cooperation in space ventures and welcome Russia's cosmonauts and citizens of other nations to fly for freedom.
Banking and Job Creation. Job creation and economic growth are dependent on a healthy and competitive financial services system that can respond to the needs of the market. The Democrat Congress stalled Republican legislation to prevent the savings and loan crisis. Then, last year, the Congress refused to pass the Republican Administration's comprehensive financial sector reform bill to strengthen our banking industry and let it compete, both domestically and internationally, consistent with the principles of safety and soundness.
We applaud the President' s efforts to alleviate the continuing problems caused by a lack of funds available to creditworthy borrowers in small businesses and the housing industry. We endorse his efforts to restrain overzealous regulators, reduce regulatory compliance costs, strengthen financial institutions through diversification, and reduce unnecessary barriers to lending.
Trade: A New World of Growth.Four years ago, the American people faced an historic decision: compete or retreat. They chose, with President Bush, to compete in the international arena. Rather than retreat with the Democrats to the limits of yesteryear, they decided to attack the international marketplace with characteristic American vigor. Just as George Bush is a proven world leader on the military front, equally he is an economic world leader.
The results are spectacular. We have cut the trade deficit in half in just four years. The United States is again the world's top exporter. Exports drive our economy. Every $1 billion in exports creates 20,000 new jobs for Americans. Exports have created nearly two million new jobs at home since 1988.
We are tough free traders, battling to sweep away barriers to our exports. We are waging the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) negotiations to win worldwide reductions in tariffs, elimination of subsidies, and protection of American intellectual property rights. We are fighting to reduce farm subsidies in the European Community and to break up their government-industry collusion in production of civil aircraft. We firmly endorse President Bush's policy to support the Republic of China on Taiwan in international trade and her accession to GATT. Major market access gains have been made with Japan, with American manufacturing exports tripling since 1985. Throughout the world, we enforced greater compliance with U.S. trade rights. And we are making every effort to bring home a Uruguay Round agreement that is not only good for America, but great for tomorrow's entrepreneurs everywhere.
The free trade agenda for the next four years starts with the signing of a North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Mexico, completing the establishment of a free trade area which already includes Canada. NAFTA will create the largest market in the world, greater than the European Community, with 360 million consumers and a total output of six trillion dollars. It means a net gain of hundreds of thousands of American jobs.
We acknowledge the possible effects on regional markets, specifically agriculture. We encourage our negotiators to be sensitive to those market concerns.
We will continue to fill the Pacific Rim with American exports, negotiating trade agreements with other Asian economies, and will complete our efforts—such as the Structural Impediments Initiative with Japan—to reduce barriers to American goods and services. And we will continue to negotiate the Enterprise for the Americas Initiative with Latin America as a first step in creating a hemispheric free trade zone.
Congress should report to the American people the cost to workers, consumers, and businesses of every Democrat trade restriction, trade tax, or trade quota bill it considers. We will not tolerate their obstructing the greatest expansion of international trade in history. Republicans welcome this opportunity; for we know America's workers, thinkers, and builders will make the most of it.
International Economic Policy. Twelve years ago, we unleashed a tidal wave of freedom around the world—not just political, but economic liberty as well. What works in America—personal responsibility, limited government, competition—works throughout the world.
Because the world economy is interdependent, the United States has been affected by downturns elsewhere, particularly since 1990 with the crash of the Japanese stock market and Germany's economic difficulties. Now, as progress resumes, the Republican plan for global growth is vital for all nations, developed or otherwise. The continuing prosperity of our neighborhoods will depend in part upon the masterful diplomacy we have come to expect from President Bush.
Economic freedom is an essential link to our foreign policy. It means expanded trade, but it also means dynamic growth based on shared values—a coming together of nations in the commonwealth of peaceful progress. To that end, U.S. aid, whether bilateral or through international organizations, should promote market reforms, limit regulation, and encourage free trade.
Chief among these market reforms should be the privatization of state-owned industries such as telecommunications, power, mining, and refining. Privatization should afford American companies the opportunity to purchase some of these assets, bring competition to these countries, and substantially reduce our trade deficit. The United States government should take all possible steps to assist American companies wishing to invest in privatized industries by adopting policies, rules, and regulations that will equitably facilitate these ventures, especially for small businesses.
We will work with developing nations to make their economies attractive to private investment and will support innovations to guarantee repayment of their loans, including debt for equity swaps. Our experience can help them develop environmentally rational strategies for growth.
Because we uphold the family as the building block of economic progress, we protect its rights in international programs and will continue to withhold funds from organizations involved in abortion.
Most important, we encourage developing nations to adopt both democracy and free markets. The two are inextricably tied and afford all people the greatest opportunities.
Reforming Government and the Legal System
Two centuries ago, the American people created a miracle—a system of government, rounded on limited authority and the rule of law, a system that made government the servant of the people. Today it is in shambles. Citizens feel overwhelmed by vast bureaucracies. Congress insulates incumbents from public judgment. Huge problems get worse while committee chairmen play partisan games. The current legal system tends to breed delay, cost, confusion, and jargon—everything but justice. Many of our once-great cities are controlled by one-party machines that promote and encourage corruption and incompetence.
The Republic has not failed; the Democrat Party bosses failed the Republic.
The Republican Party, now as at its rounding, challenges a debased status quo. In Congress, the States, our cities, our courtrooms, we fight for the basics of self-government.
We rely on what works, judging programs by how well they do instead of how much they spend. The Democrats believe in more government. Republicans believe in leaner, more effective government.
We decentralize authority, returning decisions to States, localities, and private institutions. The Democrat bosses want to concentrate power on Capitol Hill. Republicans place it in town halls and the American home.
Republicans favor the free-enterprise system. We choose market forces—consumer rights—over red tape. The Democrats argue that government must constantly override the market. Republicans regard the worst market failure as the failure to have a market.
We replace dependency with empowerment. The Democrats see an America filled with wards of the State. Republicans see an America peopled by citizens and consumers eager for the chance to chart their own course.
We make electoral systems understandable and accountable to the voter. The Democrats fear proposals that would limit the tenure and hidden power of incumbent politicians. Republicans want the ballot box to prevail over the cloakroom.
Cleaning Up the Imperial Congress. The Democrats have controlled the House of Representatives for 38 years—five years longer than Castro has held Cuba. They have held the Senate for 32 of those 38. Their entrenched power has produced a Congress arrogant, out of touch, hopelessly entangled in a web of PACs, perks, privileges, partisanship, paralysis, and pork. No wonder they hid their congressional leaders during the Democrat convention of 1992. They didn't want Americans to remember who has been running the Congress.
The Democrats have transformed what the Framers of the Constitution intended as the people's House into a pathological institution. They have grossly increased their staffing, their payrolls, their allied bureaucracies in little-known congressional agencies. Congress has ballooned to 284 congressional committees and subcommittees, almost 40,000 legislative branch employees and staff, and $2.5 billion in taxpayer financing, amounting to approximately $5 million per lawmaker per year. Incumbents have abused free mailing privileges for personal political gain. Twenty-two Democrats, with a total of 585 years in power, rule over a committee system that blocks every attempt at reform.
The Democrats have trampled the traditions of the House, rigging rules, forbidding votes on crucial amendments, denying fair apportionment of committee seats and resources. They have stacked campaign laws to benefit themselves. The Democrat Leadership of the House has been tainted with scandal and has resisted efforts to investigate scandals once disclosed. Some in their Leadership have resigned in well-earned disgrace.
The Democrat Leadership of the Congress has turned the healthy competition of constitutional separation of powers into mean-spirited politics of innuendo and inquisition. Committee hearings are no longer for fact-finding; they are political sideshows. "Advise and consent" has been replaced by "slash and burn."
Republicans want to change all that. We reaffirm our support for a constitutional amendment to limit the number of terms House Members and Senators may serve. We want a citizens' Congress, free of bloated pensions and perpetual perks.
Congress must stop exempting itself from laws such as the minimum wage and the civil rights statutes, as well as laws which apply to the Executive Branch. The Independent Counsel Act is a case in point. It has permitted rogue prosecutors to spend tremendous amounts to hound some of the Nation's finest public servants. If that Act is reauthorized, it must be extended to Congress as well. Safety and health regulations, civil rights and minimum wage laws are further examples of areas where Congress has set itself apart from the people. This practice must end.
Congress must slash its own bureaucracy. Its employees operate in a maze of overlapping jurisdictions. A Republican Congress will cut expenses by 25 percent, reduce the number of committees and subcommittees, and assign staff in accurate proportion to party strength.
We will restore integrity to the House of Representatives, reforming its rules, allowing open debate and amendment. The committee system, both in Congress and in Democrat-controlled State legislatures, has been abused by chairpersons who have arbitrarily killed legislation which would have passed. Committees are a place for open and free discussion, not a closet for Democrats to stash Republican legislation. Democracy itself is endangered by these abuses, and Republicans condemn these practices. Both houses of Congress must guarantee protection to whistle blowers to encourage employees to report illegality, corruption, sexual harassment, and discrimination.
The Democrat rulers of Congress have blocked or stalled Presidential initiatives in many areas, including education, housing, crime control, economic recovery, job creation, and budget reform. They care more about scoring petty partisan points for themselves and their Party than about achieving real progress for the Nation. To accomplish change, we need a change in Congress.
Reforming the Congressional Budget Process. At the heart of the Democrats' corruption of Congress is a fraudulent budget process. They do not want the public to understand how they spend the public' s money. At a time when the Nation's future depends on reduction of deficits, the lords of the Capitol still play the old shell game.
Republicans vigorously support a balanced budget, a Balanced Budget Constitutional Amendment, and a line-item veto for the President.
Republicans believe this balancing of the budget should be achieved, not by increasing taxes to match spending, but by cutting spending to current levels of revenue. We prefer a Balanced Budget Amendment which contains a super-majority requirement to raise taxes.
We also propose procedural reforms. We support legislation that would require Congress to pass a legally binding budget before it can consider spending bills. The budget' s spending ceilings shall not be exceeded without a super-majority vote of both chambers. If Congress fails to pass any appropriation bill, funding for its programs will automatically be frozen at the previous year's level. The key to prosperity for the rest of this century and for the next generation of Americans is a budget strategy that restores sanity to the budget process and checks the growth of government.
Congress should be forced to confront basic arithmetic through Truth in Counting. The Democrats measure all changes in funding against a "current services baseline," with built-in increases for inflation and other factors. If they want a $1 million program to grow to $2 million, they then count an increase to $1.5 million as a half-million dollar cut. This is the accounting system of Wonderland, where words mean exactly what the Democrat Speaker says they mean. The double-talk must end with zero-based budgeting. We also support "sunset laws" that require government agencies to be reviewed periodically and reauthorized only if they can be rejustified.
Cleaning Up Politics: The Gerrymander. After more than a half-century of distortion by power-hungry Democrats, the political system is increasingly rigged.
Throughout the 1980s, voters were cheated out of dozens of seats in the House of Representatives and in State legislatures because districts were oddly shaped to guarantee election of Democrats. It was swindle by law. We support State-level appointment of non-partisan redistricting commissions to apply clear standards for compactness of districts, competitiveness between the parties, and protection of community interests.
Cleaning Up Politics: Campaign Reform. We crusade for clean elections. We support State efforts to increase voter participation but condemn Democrat attempts to perpetrate vote fraud through schemes that override the States' safeguards of orderly voter registration. And it is critical that the States retain the authority to tailor voter registration procedures to unique local circumstances.
Most of all, we condemn the Democrats' shameless plots to make taxpayers foot the bills for their campaigns. Their campaign finance bill would have given $1 billion, over six years, in subsidies to candidates. President Bush vetoed that bill. Campaign financing does need reform. It does not need a hand in the public's pocketbook.
We will require congressional candidates to raise most of their funds from individuals within their home constituencies. This will limit outside special-interest money and result in less expensive campaigns, with less padding for incumbents. To the same end, we will strengthen the role of political parties to remove pressure on candidates to spend so much time soliciting funds. We will eliminate political action committees supported by corporations, unions, or trade associations, and restrict the practice of bundling.
To restore competition in elections by attacking the unfair advantages of incumbency, we will stop incumbents from warding off challengers merely by amassing huge war chests. Congressional candidates will be forbidden from carrying campaign funds from one election to the next. We will oppose arbitrary spending limits—cynical devices which hobble challengers to keep politicians in office.
We will fully implement the Supreme Court's decision in the Beck case, ensuring that workers have the right to stop the use of their union dues for political or other non-collective bargaining purposes.
Managing Government in the Public Interest. The focus of government must shift from quantity to quality, from spending to service. Americans should expect measurable, published standards for services provided by government at all levels. Performance standards and rules, commonplace in the private sector, must be applied to government activities as well. Because federal government employees should not be a privileged caste, we will remove the bar to garnishing their wages to ensure payment of their debts.
The Quality Revolution in American business has quietly but profoundly transformed American culture over the past decade. Millions of American workers have benefited from the more cooperative spirit the Quality Revolution has brought to tens of thousands of workplaces; and every American has benefited from the lower costs, higher quality service, and greater level of competitiveness it has produced. Republicans are proud to have played a leading role in this transformation, especially through the annual Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, which recognizes companies that best represent the principles of Quality.
The Quality Revolution in the private sector, with its concepts of Continuous Improvement, Profound Knowledge, and "Doing the Right Thing Right the First Time," stands in stark contrast to the outmoded practices, insensitivity and outright waste, abuse, and corruption endemic in the bureaucratic welfare state. The Republican Party is firmly committed to bringing the Quality Revolution into government at every level by creating a "Quality Workers for a Quality America" coalition whose aim will be to transform the bureaucratic welfare state into a government that is customer-friendly, cost-effective, and improving constantly.
Privatization is an important alternative to higher taxes and reduced services. If private enterprise can perform better and more cheaply than government, let it do so. This is especially true of properties now decaying under government control, such as public housing, where residents should have the option to manage their own projects. These citizens should have the chance to become stockholders and managers of government enterprises and to run them more efficiently as private enterprises. We applaud President Bush' s initiative to allow States and localities to privatize facilities built with federal aid.
Where it advances both efficiency and safety, we will advocate privatization of airport operation and management.
We deplore the blatant political bias of the government-sponsored radio and television networks. It is especially outrageous that taxpayers are now forced to underwrite this biased broadcasting through the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). We call for sweeping reform of CPB, including greater accountability through application of the Freedom of Information Act, a one-year funding cycle, and enforcement of rigorous fairness standards for all CPB-supported programming. We look forward to the day when public broadcasting is self-sufficient.
Always trusting the initiative of the American people over the ways of government, we will not initiate production of goods or delivery of services by the federal government if they can be procured from the private sector.
We will not initiate any federal activity that can be conducted better on the State or local level. In doing so, we reassert the crucial importance of the Tenth Amendment. We oppose costly federal mandates that stifle innovation and force tax hikes upon States and localities. We require that Congress calculate the cost of mandated initiatives upon communities affected and provide adequate financial support for mandates invoked. We will continue the process of returning power to local voters by replacing federal programs with block grants.
Reforming the Legal System. The United States, with five percent of the world's population, has two-thirds of the world's lawyers. Litigation has become an industry, an end in itself. The number of civil cases in federal district courts has more than tripled in the past thirty years. It now takes more than a year to resolve the average lawsuit. Delays of three to five years are commonplace.
The current legal system forces consumers to pay higher prices for everything from basic goods to medical treatment. Direct litigation and inflated insurance premiums sock American consumers for an estimated $80 billion a year. All told, our legal system costs, directly and indirectly, $300 billion a year. What it costs us in the world marketplace, by hindering our competitiveness, is beyond calculation.
We therefore endorse the President's proposals for legal reform as developed by Vice President Quayle, and we salute his principled challenge to the American Bar Association to clean up its own house. We support the Fairness Rule, to allow the winning party to a lawsuit to recover the costs of litigation from the losing party. This will discourage needless suits, freeing legal resources for people with genuine cases.
We believe complainants should have a choice of ways to settle problems through alternative dispute programs that will permit parties to pursue less costly and less complicated ways to resolve conflicts. We also call for greater use of judicial sanctions to stop frivolous lawsuits. We call for changes to the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) law to limit its use in civil litigation by requiring proof of all elements by clear and convincing proof.
We seek to restore fairness and predictability to punitive damages by placing appropriate limits on them, dividing trials into two phases to determine liability separately from damages, and requiring clear proof of wrongdoing. This will go a long way to reduce insurance premiums for professional and product liability and for all malpractice, including medical, thereby lowering costs for consumers throughout the economy, while preserving the ability of injured persons to obtain damages. It will also foster the creation of new products for the American marketplace, perhaps cures for the diseases we most fear.
The Republican Party commends President Bush and Vice President Quayle for their continued leadership in helping volunteers overcome their concern that their good acts and voluntary donations of time on behalf of civic groups, community organizations, and churches will result in civil liability and lawsuits. We encourage the State legislatures to pass the Administration's model bill, "The Volunteerism Act."
We will throw out "junk science" by requiring courts to verify the legitimacy of persons called as expert witnesses. To restore integrity to courtroom testimony, we will ban the practice of paying fees to experts only if a successful verdict is obtained. We will maintain diversity jurisdiction for citizens of different States to ensure access to the federal courts when appropriate.
Because four-fifths of the time and cost of a lawsuit involves discovery—pre-trial investigation of the facts—we will require automatic disclosure, by both sides, of basic information. We will ban abuses of the discovery process used to intimidate opponents and drive up their costs.
We will fight rising health care costs—and equally important, help dedicated doctors to keep practicing in critical areas like obstetrics—by providing incentives for States to reform their liability laws. This will reduce the practice of "defensive medicine," requiring patients to be tested for every conceivable ailment at their own enormous expense to guard against the mere possibility of a lawsuit.
Recognizing that legal reform can solve only parts of the larger problem, we support a federal product liability law. The cost of product liability protection is a great expense to the American consumer and seriously impedes our international competitiveness. For example, a consumer pays an additional 17 percent to cover the liability insurance of an ordinary stepladder. If thirteen European nations can enact uniform product liability laws to give them a competitive edge against the United States, we can do it here too—once we break the Democrat hold on the Congress so Republicans can put the interests of workers and consumers ahead of trial lawyers.
Some of the problems in our legal system are rooted in a declining sense of, and respect for, individual responsibility. We reaffirm that all Americans are first and finally responsible for their own behavior.
The Nation's Capital. We call for closer and responsible Congressional scrutiny of the city, federal oversight of its law enforcement and courts, and tighter fiscal restraints over its expenditures. We oppose statehood as inconsistent with the original intent of the Framers of the Constitution and with the need for a federal city belonging to all the people as our Nation's Capital.
A New Era for the Territories. We welcome greater participation in all aspects of the political process by Americans residing in Guam, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, the Northern Marianas, and Puerto Rico. Because territorial America is far-flung and divergent, we know that any single approach to the future will not necessarily meet the needs of all. Republicans therefore emphasize respect for the wishes of those who reside in the territories regarding their relationship to the rest of the Union.
We affirm the fight of American citizens in the United States territories to seek the full extension of the Constitution with the accompanying rights and responsibilities, and we support all necessary legislation to permit them to do so.
The Republican Party supports the right of the United States citizens of Puerto Rico to be admitted to the Union as a fully sovereign State after they freely so determine.
We recognize that the people of Guam have voted for a closer relationship with the United States of America, and we reaffirm our support of their right to mutually improve their political relationship through commonwealth.
We support American Samoa's efforts to advance toward economic self-reliance through a multi-year plan, while ensuring the protection afforded to the people of American Samoa by the original treaty of cession.
We support the full extension of rights and responsibilities under the U.S. Constitution to American citizens of the Virgin Islands.
We commend President Bush for the successful development of self-government in Micronesia and the Marshall Islands and for efforts to conclude the United Nations' last trusteeship in Palau consistent with the people's right of self-determination.
Our Land, Food, and Resources
We hold the resources of our country in stewardship. Our heritage from the past must be our legacy to generations to come. Our people have always known that, as they cherished their land and turned earth and rock into food, fiber, and power. In the process, they built the world's most formidable economy, sustained by its raw materials, driven by its energy resources. They brought comfort to the home, transformed the Nation, and fed the world.
Agriculture and energy remain building blocks of modern life. Their vitality is crucial to the Nation's growth. Indeed, to its survival. While supporting conservation, we reject the notion that there are limits to growth. Human ingenuity is the ultimate resource, and it knows no limits. The true measure of America's economic success is not whether austerity can be shared by many, but whether prosperity can be achieved for all.
We advocate privatizing those government agencies and assets that would be more productive and better maintained in private ownership. We support efforts to decentralize government monopolies that poorly serve the public and waste taxpayers' dollars.
Agriculture. The Republican Party is the home of the farmer, rancher, and forester. We have long championed their right to pursue growth, efficiency, and competitiveness through market incentives, diversification, and personal ingenuity. And for good reason. Their industry provides consumers with the highest quality food and fiber for the smallest percentage of disposable income of any nation in the history of the world.
They have been pioneer environmentalists. They have turned over to their children and grandchildren land that has been nurtured to expand its productivity while conserving this vital resource. Even more important, they have cultivated in their homes strong family life and moral virtues. We endorse American Samoa's time-honored land tenure system which fosters self-reliance and strong extended family values. When we lose farmers, we lose much more than agriculture. We are committed to bringing our farm families the full benefit of a growing and diversified rural economy.
Our rural families also deserve to be brought into the mainstream of health care, with tax policies that provide all who are self-employed full deductibility of their health insurance premiums.
We stand with farmers against attempts by liberal Democrats to repeal the laws of economics by dictating price levels and restricting production. We stand with them against agricultural embargoes. We reject the notion that elected officials and bureaucrats make better farm managers than farmers themselves.
We remain strong in our support of livestock agriculture. We believe in the humane treatment of animals, but we oppose attempts by animal rights extremists to impose excessive restrictions on animal husbandry practices.
Our Omnibus Farm Bills of 1985 and 1990 gave farmers greater flexibility in decisions concerning management of their farms and marketing of their commodities. We have reduced government control and ownership of commodity inventories. Export sales and profitability have improved significantly. Agricultural debt has fallen by 30 percent. Under this President and sound Republican policies, net farm income has reached record levels.
At the same time, we cut by two-thirds the cost of government commodity programs. Only one-half of one percent of the federal budget is now spent on those programs. By reducing dependency on government, we have created a healthier agricultural sector. We will build upon our 1985 and 1990 legislation and repeal obsolete or unworkable statutes while continuing to provide a viable base of support for U.S. farmers.
Agricultural prosperity is essential to the Nation's global competitiveness. We will continue to expand the growth of American agriculture through exports, development of new products, and new markets. Commodity exports this year will hit $40 billion, a 50 percent increase over the levels of five years ago. There has never been an annual deficit in our balance of agricultural trade, and the positive balance this year will be $18 billion.
We pledge to fight unfair competition and to bring down the walls of protectionism around the world that unfairly inhibit competitiveness of U.S. farm exports. We pledge continued pressure to open world markets through the Uruguay Round, the North American Free Trade Agreement, and bilateral negotiations. We affirm that there will be no GATT agreement unless it improves opportunities for U.S. farmers to compete in world markets. We repeat our demand for cutbacks in export subsidies by the European Community and elsewhere, and we will fight the use of arbitrary health and sanitation standards to sabotage U.S. exports.
New markets for agricultural products will also be created as producers translate technological breakthroughs into new uses, such as soy oil diesel and biodegradable plastics. We support the widest possible use of ethanol in the U.S. motor fuel market, including in oxygenated fuels programs and as ethanol blends in reformulated gasolines. In addition, the Republican Party supports increased research and development to reduce ethanol production costs and expand its use in motor fuel markets. Such use will greatly help American farmers, improve the rural economy, and reduce our dependence on imported oil.
Building our farm economy requires meeting our farmers' financing needs. Critical to these needs are competitive, reasonable interest rates for U.S. producers. Under George Bush, interest rates have been dramatically reduced, thereby contributing substantially to improving the net income of American farm and ranch families. We will continue working to ensure that farmers have access to credit, with particular consideration to the needs of young and beginning farmers.
We recognize the importance of efficient, equitable transportation systems to the economic viability of agricultural experts; and we will work to achieve greater efficiencies within the U.S. maritime industry and to decrease the cost to agriculture of shipping services.
We support farm conservation efforts, both those pioneered in our 1985 Farm Bill and entirely voluntary undertakings, which result in three times as much erosion control as those mandated by law. We support the Conservation Reserve, with more than 35 million acres now enrolled. It shows what farmers can do through incentives rather than government controls.
We value our Nation's real wetlands habitat and the diversity of our native animal and plant life. We oppose, however, bureaucratic harassment of farm, ranch, and timber families under statutes regarding endangered species and wetlands. When actions are required to protect an endangered species, we recognize that jobs can be lost, communities displaced, and economic progress for all denied. Accordingly, prior to the implementation of a recovery plan for a species declared to be endangered, we will require the Congress to affirm the priority of the species on the endangered list and the specific measures to be taken in any recovery plan. These acts should not rest with the rubber stamp of a bureaucrat.
With regard to wetlands, following our principle that environmental protection be reasonable, land that is not truly wet should not be classified as a wetland. Protection of environmentally sensitive wetlands must not come at the price of disparaging landowners' property rights. Thus, we endorse, as President Bush has done, legislation to discourage government activities that ignore property rights. We also find intolerable the use of taxpayer funds, through the Legal Services Corporation, to attack the agricultural community.
Power for Progress. Energy sustains life as we know it: our standard of living, the prospect for economic growth, the way our children will live in the century ahead. Republican energy policy, now as in the past, reflects the commonsense aspirations of the American people.
Our goals address our fundamental needs: an energy supply, available to all, that remains reasonably priced, secure, and clean, produced by strong energy industries on which the country can rely, operating in an environmentally responsible manner and producing from domestically available energy resources to the maximum extent practicable.
Anyone older than a teenager can remember the energy upheavals of the bad old days, when political games threw the Nation into a tailspin. Stranded in gasoline lines, shocked by home heating bills, shutting down factory operations, America's motorists, homeowners, and workers rightly blamed official Washington for wrecking something which had always worked so efficiently that it was taken for granted.
Today, after 12 years of Republican reform, we can again have confidence in our energy policies. The average household spends 11 percent less on energy, as adjusted for inflation, than it did in 1980, because of both conservation and lower costs.
We broke the shackles of bureaucratic regulation by ending petroleum price and allocation controls, deregulating natural gas wellhead prices, and repealing restrictions on the use of clean-burning natural gas by industry and utilities. We repealed the Windfall Profit Tax on crude oil that penalized investment in domestic oil production. We promoted free competition in an open marketplace and ended the public subsidy to the "synthetic fuels" program. And we broke the back of OPEC, the international energy cartel.
And, equally important, we undertook a reevaluation of estimates of our domestic energy resource base, which the Carter Administration had determined to be inadequate. The Republican Administration correctly found that we can indeed continue to supply a significant amount of our domestically available energy resources, including natural gas and coal, for all energy consumption needs well into the next century.
When Iraq's dictator moved to seize the world's energy lifeline by controlling the Persian Gulf, George Bush did more than liberate Kuwait. He prevented energy crisis and economic shutdown in America. Now his National Energy Strategy leads toward continued growth in the century ahead. It provides the Nation with a comprehensive and balanced strategy for America's energy future. Specifically, it promotes adequate energy supplies and reduces consumer costs by relying on market forces, diversifying domestic energy sources, and improving the efficiency and flexibility of energy consumption. We seek to foster greater competition and increased output, in the interest of producers and consumers alike.
The domestic oil and gas industry saves us from total dependence on unreliable foreign imports. But over the past decade, it has lost more than 300,000 jobs. Drilling rigs are still. Crippled by environmental rules and taxes, independent producers have been devastated and major companies are moving operations overseas. We will reverse that situation by allowing access, under environmental safeguards, to the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, possibly one of the largest petroleum reserves in our country, and to selected areas of the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). We support incentives to encourage domestic investment for onshore and OCS oil and gas exploration and development, including relief from the alternative minimum tax, credits for enhanced oil recovery and geological exploration under known geological oil fields and producing geological structures, and modified percentage depletion rules to benefit marginal production. We will ensure that royalty payments on federal lands remain consistent with changing economic conditions.
Most important, unlike Democrat no-growth fanatics, we know what is most at stake in the energy debate: the family's standard of living, including job opportunities, household income, and the environment in which we live.
That is why we have been supporting complete decontrol of wellhead prices for clean natural gas, which have already declined ten percent in the last four years while consumption increased by the same amount. We support replacing government controls with the power of the market to determine transactions between buyers and sellers of natural gas. We encourage the use of natural gas for both vehicles and electricity generation, and the expansion of research, development, and demonstration for end-use natural gas technologies. We will foster more public-private partnerships to advance use of natural gas.
The Republican Party has a deep and abiding commitment to America's mining industry. We support the original intent of the Mining Law of 1872: to provide the security necessary for miners to risk capital investment on federal lands, thus preserving jobs and bolstering the domestic economy.
We support clean-coal technologies to allow greater use of America's most abundant fossil fuel within standards required by the Clean Air Act. We encourage the export of U.S. coal. We support acceleration of the international transfer of coal-related technologies to boost exports for U.S. coal, in order to capitalize on America's leadership in these technologies.
We oppose any attempt to impose a carbon tax as proposed by liberal Democrats.
We endorse major national projects, like the Super Conducting Super Collider, which offer the promise of developing more efficient ways to store, transport, and use energy.
We will hasten development of the next generation of nuclear power plants—one of the cleanest, safest energy sources of all. Republicans back reform of the nuclear licensing process. We will site and license a permanent waste depository and a monitored retrievable storage facility. We reject the scare tactics used against nuclear power by those who want to shut down this essential contributor to the American future.
We endorse development of renewable energy sources and research on fuel cells, conservation, hydro, solar, hydrogen, and wind power as components of our overall plan for energy security and environmental quality.
Public Lands. The millions of acres that constitute this Nation's public lands must continue to provide for a number of uses. We are committed to the multiple use of our public lands. We believe that recreation, forestry, ranching, mining, oil and gas exploration, and production on our public lands can be conducted in a way compatible with their conservation. The United States has some of the richest mineral resources in the world. Our public lands should not be arbitrarily locked up and put off limits to responsible uses.
Approximately 50 percent of the lands in the West are owned by the federal government. These lands are a deeply intermingled patchwork quilt of public and private ownership. In order to provide an economic base for the people of the West, a public-private cooperative partnership on these lands for multiple use in an environmentally sound manner is imperative.
Transportation. From its founding, the Republican Party has considered the Nation's transportation system crucial to economic opportunity for all. That is why our 1860 Platform endorsed the Transcontinental Railroad. It is why President Eisenhower signed the Interstate and Defense Highway Act, bringing America closer together and launching a lengthy economic expansion.
Today, America's transportation system is safer, more efficient, more reliable than that of any other country. It employs one of every ten workers and accounts for $800 billion in spending. It enables us to compete in the world market and gives us more choices in our dally lives.
Under President Bush, that system has been strengthened by revolutionary legislation to pave the way into the century ahead. Providing $151 billion for highways and transit systems, it is the most extensive transportation improvement project in our Nation's history—and a tremendous jobs program as well.
Highway death rates have dropped to an all-time low, largely due to better road design and stronger safety programs. This progress would be wiped out by the Democrats' draconian plan for higher Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. Their national nominees want to require a 45 miles-per-gallon standard. That means unsafe vehicles, reduced consumer choice, higher car costs, and a loss of 300,000 jobs in the auto industry here at home.
To reduce the congestion that still chokes urban areas, we established a National Highway System of 155,000 miles, giving States and localities greater voice in decisions about projects. It will improve connections between ports and highways, airports and railways; spur development of new airports and reduce their environmental impact; promote private investment in transportation; and foster high-tech solutions to congestion.
To keep America on the move, we assert the same principle that guides us in all other sectors of the economy: consumers benefit through competition within the private sector. That is why we will complete the job of trucking deregulation. We will also abolish the Interstate Commerce Commission, finally freeing shippers and consumers from horse-and-buggy regulation. We applaud the President' s executive order that will assist communities to privatize government-controlled ventures, such as airports and toll roads.
Our tough trade campaign, along with regulatory reforms, will assure U.S. air carriers fair access to international routes and allow the U.S. merchant marine to sail over foreign protectionism. The President has proposed and will aggressively pursue a comprehensive revision of existing maritime policy.
Regulatory reform of airlines now allows more people to fly more safely, at better prices. Tough laws for drug and alcohol testing are making all modes of transportation safer than ever. Disabled persons will have greater access to the entire transportation network under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Wherever possible, the market should allocate investment in transportation, steering the development of passenger rail, mass transit, and highways to best suit consumers. States and localities should have discretion in using Highway Trust Fund revenues to construct new roads, expand existing ones, or invest in mass transit facilities, as they see fit. We advocate development of high-speed fall systems, through private investment, to serve inter-city travel. We also advocate development of short-haul aircraft with vertical take-off and landing capability, to bring commerce and jobs to communities large and small.
We will continue aggressively to support development of intelligent highway systems, an efficient battery for electric cars, perfected natural gas vehicles, greater private investment in space travel, and removal of regulatory impediments to intermodal transport.
Because Republicans advocate personal responsibility, we salute groups, organizations, and individuals that take direct action to improve safe driving and street safety.
Environment. Cleaning up America is a labor of love for family, neighborhood, and Nation. In the Republican tradition of conserving the past to enrich the future, we have made the United States the world's leader in environmental progress.
We spend more than any other country on environmental protection. Over the last 20 years, our country has spent $1 trillion to clean its air, water, and land. We increased GNP by 70 percent while cutting lead in the air by 97 percent. Our rivers run cleaner than ever in memory. We've preserved parks, wilderness, and wildlife. The price of progress is now about $115 billion a year, almost two percent of GNP; and that will grow to three percent by 2000.
Clearly we have led the world in investment in environmental protection. We have taught the world three vital lessons. First, environmental progress is integrally related to economic advancement. Second, economic growth generates the capital to pay for environmental gains. Third, private ownership and economic freedom are the best security against environmental degradation. The ghastly truth about state socialism is now exposed in what used to be the Soviet Union: dead rivers and seas, poisoned land, dying people.
Liberal Democrats think people are the problem. We know people are the solution. Respecting the people's rights and views, we applied market-based solutions to environmental problems. President Bush's landmark Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, the toughest environmental law ever enacted, uses an innovative system of emission credits to achieve its dramatic reductions. This will save $1 billion over the Democrats' command-and-control approach. Other provisions of that law will cut acid rain emissions in half, reduce toxic pollutants by 90 percent, reduce smog, and speed the use of cleaner fuels.
The President' s leadership has doubled spending for real wetlands and targeted one million acres for a wetlands reserve through his Farm Bill of 1990. We have collected more civil penalties from polluters in two years than in the previous twenty, begun the phase-out of substances that harm the ozone layer, and launched a long-term campaign to expand and improve national parks, forests, and recreation areas, adding 1.5 million acres. President Bush has dramatically increased spending for cleaning up past environmental damage caused by federal facilities.
Our reforestation drive will plant one billion trees a year across America. Our moratorium on offshore drilling in sensitive offshore areas has bought time for technology to master environmental challenges. Our farm policies have begun a new era in sound agricultural environmentalism.
Because the environment knows no boundaries, President Bush has accelerated U.S. research on global climate change, spending $2.7 billion in the last three years and requesting $1.4 billion for 1993, more than the rest of the world put together. Under his leadership, we have assisted nations from the Third World to Eastern Europe in correcting the environmental damage inflicted by socialism. We proposed a worldwide forestry convention and gave almost half a billion dollars to forest conservation. We won debt-for-nature swaps and environmental trust funds in Latin America and the Caribbean. We secured prohibitions against unilateral export or dumping of hazardous waste. We led the international ban on trade in ivory, persuaded Japan to end driftnet fishing, streamlined response to oil spills, and increased environmental protection for Antarctica.
Adverse changes in climate must be the common concern of mankind. At the same time, we applaud our President for personally confronting the international bureaucrats at the Rio Conference. He refused to accept their anti-American demands for income redistribution and won instead a global climate treaty that relies on real action plans rather than arbitrary targets hostile to U.S. growth and workers.
Following his example, a Republican Senate will not ratify any treaty that moves environmental decisions beyond our democratic process or transfers beyond our shores authority over U.S. property. The Democrats' national candidates, on the other hand, insist the U.S. must do what our foreign competitors refuse to do: abolish 300,000 to 1,000,000 jobs to get a modest reduction in "greenhouse gases."
Environmental progress must continue in tandem with economic growth. Crippling an industry is no solution at all. Bankrupt facilities only worsen environmental situations. Unemployment is a form of pollution too, poisoning families and contaminating whole communities.
Some in our own country still refuse to face those facts. They try to hijack environmentalism, making it anti-growth and anti-jobs. Although the average family of four now pays $1,000 a year for environmental controls, liberal Democrats want to tighten the squeeze. They use junk science to foster hysteria instead of reason, demanding rigid controls, more taxes, and less resource production.
However, with billions of dollars at stake in national production and jobs, not to mention our quality of life, our decisions to spend on environmental protection must not be determined by the politics of the moment. We will use scientifically respectable risk-benefit assessments to settle environmental controversies. It is time to replace knee-jerk reactions with the kind of scientific analysis that helps businesses, individuals, and communities contribute to economic and environmental progress through flexible application of laws. We must base our environmental policies on real risks to human health, determined by sound, peer-reviewed science, including procedures for what is an acceptable risk.
We will require federal agencies to promptly compensate, from their own budgets, for any taking of private property, including the denial of use.
We will legislatively overhaul the Superfund program to speed the clean up of hazardous waste and more efficiently use Superfund dollars. We will develop greenways of parks and open space in urban areas to further improve the quality of life in our cities. We will work with U.S. industry and labor to identify promising markets abroad where America's environmental know-how can carry our success story to the rest of planet earth.
Private Property Rights. We reaffirm our commitment to the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution: "No person shall be...deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation." We support strong enforcement of this Takings clause to keep citizens secure in the use and development of their property.
The right to own, use, and dispose of property inheres in mankind by nature and is a fundamental political tenet of all free nations. We applaud the wisdom of the First Congress for incorporating this guarantee of individual liberty in the Bill of Rights. We remind all government officials that property rights are not granted by government; rather, government is directed by the governed to protect the rights of private property owners.
The vigilant protection of private property rights safeguards for citizens everything of value, including their right of contract to produce and sell the fruits of their labor. The historic collapse of Communism and other command and control economies is absolute evidence of the failure of economic systems that lack a recognition of the natural rights of property owners.
We also seek to reduce the amount of land owned or controlled by the government, especially in the western states. We insist upon prompt payment for private lands certified as critical for preserving essential parks and preserves.
Uniting Our World
The world is now our neighborhood. Its triumphs and tragedies affect our communities, our jobs, and the security of our families. That is why Republicans want America to shape the international future: Because we put America first.
Not everyone does. Just twelve years ago, the forces of freedom were in tattered retreat. A failed foreign policy by a Democrat White House and Democrat-controlled Congress had left our allies uncertain, our friends betrayed, our foes emboldened. It was a frightening era, in some ways the worst of times. We all remember the flickering television images of blindfolded Americans being degraded by thugs. When voters make their choice in this year's elections, they should ask themselves: Are we safer and stronger today, in 1992, than we were in 1980, when Jimmy Carter was the Democrat President?
Republicans are proud to answer those questions. The Nation's international position has not just improved since the Democrats left office. It has been transformed. Never in this century has the United States enjoyed such security from foreign enemies. With President Bush leading the free world, the Soviet empire has collapsed, as Ronald Reagan predicted, into the dustbin of history. Eastern Europe is liberated. Germany is peacefully united. The former Soviet armies are returning home. Nuclear arsenals are being cut to fractions of their former size.
A democratically elected Russian president sits in the Kremlin. Ukraine, Armenia, and the Baltic states take their rightful place among the family of nations. Israel and all of its Arab neighbors talk face to face for the first time. Nicaragua and Panama celebrate democracy.
It might very well not have turned out this way. Only the naive believe that history is an inevitable tide or a series of accidents. Our crusade of a half-century, to champion freedom and civilization against the dark night of totalitarianism, is now victorious. An American President led the free world to this great triumph. George Bush was that man.
Freedom's victory begins a new chapter in the epic of America, full of both promise and peril. This different and unpredictable world demands visionary, experienced leadership, tested and strengthened, careful and cool. At stake is nothing less than our security, our prosperity, and our children's future. Americans can trust President Bush with that awesome responsibility.
The Triumph of Freedom
No other President in the long history of our country has achieved so many of the enduring objectives of American foreign policy in so short a time as has George Bush. He made it look easy, even destined. It was neither.
Building on the legacy of Ronald Reagan, George Bush saw the chance to sweep away decadent Communism. He was the first Western leader to declare his determination to fashion "a Europe whole and free." He took the free world beyond containment, led the way in aiding democracy in Eastern Europe, and punched holes through the rusting Iron Curtain. We all remember the joy we felt when we saw the people of Berlin dancing on top of the crumbling Wall that had symbolized four decades of Communist oppression.
He championed Germany's right to become again one nation and orchestrated the diplomacy to make it happen, on Western terms, in one astounding year. Foreseeing revolutionary change in the Soviet Union itself, he carefully pushed its rulers to open the way to the democratic future. When crisis came, in August 1991, George Bush, in the words of Boris Yeltsin, "was the first to understand the true meaning of the victory of the Russian people" and gave his decisive backing to the cause of democracy.
The world had never before faced the disintegration of a nuclear superpower. Today, thanks in large part to President Bush's initiatives, nuclear weapons are found in only four countries of the former Soviet Union—not fourteen. Because of his efforts all but Russia are giving up any claim to these weapons, and Russia has agreed to destroy the most dangerous missiles ever built. The balance of terror is fading away. The ideals of liberty, both political and economic, are the dominant moral and intellectual force around the globe.
George Bush made it happen.
Yet now that we have won the Cold War, we must also win the peace. We must not repeat the mistake of the past by throwing away victory through complacency. A new world beckons, unlike any we have ever known, filled with uncertainties. Old passions have reemerged. New democracies struggle to decide their destiny. Nations are torn asunder. Migrants and refugees strain the social fabric of continents. Tyrants work to build nuclear, chemical, and even biological weapons to threaten us and our neighbors. Drug trafficking and terrorism, often linked, menace Americans at home and abroad.
Great transitions in world affairs are rarely tidy. They challenge statesmanship, require steadiness and wisdom. History teaches that when the United States shrinks from the world, we hasten the emergence of new dangers. Republicans remember the lesson taught by our Founders: that eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.
Meeting the Challenge. The Gulf War showed the world how much is at stake when voters choose their President. George Bush had known war first hand. So he tried the way of peace—months of negotiations and economic sanctions—then did what a President must do. He led from powerful convictions based on American values. The United States, in a preeminent position of world leadership, forged a new strategy of collective engagement which invigorated the United Nations.
This was not the same United States held hostage in 1980, when the Democrats controlled both the White House and the Congress. No helpless giant here. The President charted a path that wrecked Saddam Hussein's dreams of conquest and nuclear aggression while keeping America from the quagmire of indefinite military occupation of Iraq.
President Bush, trusting the military commanders he had chosen, was Commander-in-Chief of one of the finest achievements in the distinguished history of our armed forces. Americans will never forget that, of the 323 Congressional Democrats, only 96 voted to support Operation Desert Storm and 227 voted to oppose it. If the Democrats had prevailed, Saddam Hussein would still be in Kuwait, armed with nuclear weapons. Everyone discovered what difference a vote for President can make.
Leadership through Partnership. A new era demands a new agenda. Our post-Cold War strategy both reflects our country's ideals and guards its interests.
Building a commonwealth of freedom differs greatly from the old concept of containment. It rests on a stable balance of power but goes beyond it to emphasize, above all, the supremacy of an idea: a common conception of how to make freedom work for all the nations moving with us into a radically changing future.
Republicans understand that objective cannot be pursued by the United States alone. We therefore have harnessed the free world's strength to American leadership. But such a strategy requires a President whose lead others will trust and follow. By forging consensus whenever possible, we multiply the impact of our Nation' s power and principles. But if necessary we will act alone to protect American interests. Consistent with our policy and traditions, we oppose any actions that would undermine America' s sovereignty, either in political or economic matters. Leadership through partnership allows us to project American ideals and protect American interests abroad, at less cost to our taxpayers.
That is how we will secure the victory of democracy as the best guarantee of a world without war. It is how we will open the world for American business to ensure prosperity in an open international economy. And it is how we will banish the nuclear nightmare, limit the danger from weapons of mass destruction, and safely manage a critical transition in our Nation's defenses.
Securing the Victory of Democracy. The spread of democracy and economic liberty is the best guarantee of peace. It can mean speaking out or applying economic pressure to encourage peaceful change; aiding democratic forces; or being ready, as a last resort, to take military action where vital American interests are at stake, as when President Bush restored the rule of law to Panama. Republican Presidents have used all these tools in a comprehensive, consistent campaign to promote democracy worldwide.
New tests lie ahead. On past occasions, the tide of liberty has ebbed as dictators recaptured much of what they had lost. We want freedom's wave to roll on to reach countries like China, Cuba, North Korea, Vietnam, and others. We want to keep drawing attention to serious human rights violations around the world, spurring other governments to make and fulfill the promise of liberty to their people. We want to prevent any new ideology of authoritarianism from drawing any of the world's people to a grim and vengeful vision of our future.
This is the challenge we face in the next four years. It is why President Bush led the way in promoting assistance to the fledgling democracies of Eastern Europe. It is why he has persuaded the Congress to invest in the democratic future of nations reborn from Communism. To the peoples of those nations, and to the Russian people in particular, we declare: If you stay on the path to freedom, we stand ready to help.
We rejoice especially with the people of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, whose nationhood we have always upheld in law and in our hearts.
In Western Europe, we reaffirm the NATO alliance. While we reduce our troop commitments on the continent—a thousand soldiers are coming home every week—we must keep a powerful force deployed there. The United States must remain a European power in the broadest sense, able to influence the policies and events that affect the livelihood and security of future generations of Americans.
The violence in what used to be Yugoslavia is an affront to humanity. We condemn those responsible for the carnage there and call for an immediate international investigation of atrocities. We support the United Nations peace-keeping effort and urge an immediate cease-fire by all parties. The United States should continue to demand respect for international law and fundamental human rights in this agonizing conflict.
We encourage a peaceful settlement for Cyprus and respect by all parties for the wishes of the Cypriot people.
We urge peace and justice for Northern Ireland. We welcome the newly begun process of constitutional dialogue that holds so much promise. We encourage investment and reconstruction to create opportunity for all.
In the Middle East, prospects for peace have been transformed by the determined statesmanship of George Bush. Without the leadership of president Bush, Iraq would today threaten world peace, the peace and security of the Middle East, and the very survival of Israel with a huge conventional army and nuclear weapons. Direct peace talks, on terms Israel rightly had sought for more than four decades, would not be a reality. Soviet Jewish emigration likely would have been interrupted. The rescue of Ethiopian Jewry might not have happened. And the equation of Zionism to racism still would be a grotesque stain on the United Nations.
Although much has changed for the better, the Middle East remains an area of high tensions—many unrelated to the Arab-Israeli conflict—where regional conflicts can escalate to threaten the vital interests of the United States. As Saddam Hussein's aggression against Kuwait demonstrated, heavily armed radical regimes are capable of independent aggressive action. In this environment, Israel's demonstrated strategic importance to the United States, as our most reliable and capable ally in this part of the world, is more important than ever. This strategic relationship, with its unique moral dimension, explains the understandable support Israel receives from millions of Americans who participate in our political process. The strong ties between the U.S. and Israel were demonstrated during the Gulf War when Israel chose not to retaliate against repeated missile attacks, even though they caused severe damage and loss of life. We will continue to broaden and deepen the strategic relationship with our ally Israel—the only true democracy in the Middle East—by taking additional concrete steps to further institutionalize the partnership. This will include maintaining adequate levels of security and economic assistance; continuing our meetings on military, political and economic cooperation and coordination; prepositioning military equipment; developing joint contingency plans; and increasing joint naval and air exercises.
Consistent with our strategic relationship, the United States should continue to provide large-scale security assistance to Israel, maintaining Israel's qualitative military advantage over any adversary or coalition of adversaries. We also will continue to negotiate with the major arms supplying nations to reach an agreement on limiting arms sales to the Middle East and preventing the proliferation of non-conventional weapons.
We applaud the President's leadership in fostering unprecedented direct talks between Israel and its Arab neighbors. The United States is prepared to use its good offices to mediate disputes at their request. We do not believe the U.S. should attempt to impose a solution on the parties.
The basis for negotiations must be U.N. Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338. Peace must come from direct negotiations. It will be up to the negotiators to determine exactly what is required to satisfy these resolutions, but we firmly believe Israel has a right to exist in secure and recognized borders. As President Bush stated in Madrid, our objective is not simply to end the state of war; rather, it is to establish real peace, one with treaties, security, diplomatic relations, trade, investment, cultural exchange, even tourism. We want the Middle East to become a place where people lead normal lives.
A meaningful peace must assure Israel's security while recognizing the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people. We oppose the creation of an independent Palestinian state. Nor will we support the creation of any political entity that would jeopardize Israel's security. As Israelis and Palestinians negotiate interim self-government, no party will be required to commit itself to any specific final outcome of direct negotiations. Israel should not be forced to negotiate with any party. In this regard, the United States will have no dialogue with the PLO until it satisfies in full the conditions laid out by President Bush in 1990. We believe Jerusalem should remain an undivided city, with free and unimpeded access to all holy places by people of all faiths. No genuine peace would deny Jews the right to live anywhere in the special city of Jerusalem.
Peace in the Middle East entails cooperation between all the parties in the region. To this end, we have worked to bring all of the states of the area together with Israel to hold multilateral negotiations on issues of common concern such as regional development, water, refugees, arms control and the environment. We support these forums as a means of encouraging Arab acceptance of Israel and solving common regional problems.
We continue to back legislation mandating that if the U.N. and its agencies were to deny Israel's right to participate, the United States would withhold financial support and withdraw from those bodies until their action was rectified.
Republicans believe freedom of emigration is a fundamental human right and that Jews from any nation should be free to travel to Israel. Republicans are proud we have maintained our historic and moral commitment to the resettlement in Israel of persecuted Jews. We congratulate President Bush and Secretary Baker on the agreement with Israel for a generous package of loan guarantees that will provide new immigrants with needed humanitarian assistance.
We also should maintain our close ties with and generous aid for Egypt, which properly reaps the benefits of its courageous peace with Israel. We continue to support Egypt and other pro-Western states in the region against subversion and aggression and call for an end to the Arab boycott of Israel. We also support establishment of a strong central government in Lebanon, democratically elected and representative of its citizens.
We salute all the countries in the Middle East who contributed to the success of Desert Storm and share our goal of stability in the region. With them, we hope to build upon that triumph a new future for the Middle East, founded on mutual respect and a common longing for peace. To promote this goal, we should settle for nothing less than full, unconditional, immediate, and verified Iraqi compliance with all aspects of the cease-fire laid out in U.N. resolutions.
In the Western Hemisphere, as elsewhere, we must promote democratic values. We will continue to seek cooperation in the common battle against the drug lords. We will also lower barriers to trade and investment, knowing that our exports to Latin America are helping to lead our economic recovery at home. The President's Enterprise for the Americas initiative and the North American Free Trade Agreement mean, for the United States, billions in new trade, hundreds of thousands of new jobs, and a long-term solution to the economic pressures behind illegal immigration.
We welcome positive changes, economic and political, in Mexico, and salute the people of Panama on their recovery of free institutions after Operation Just Cause. We commend President Bush for the decisive military action that led to the end of the corrupt Noriega regime and freedom for democratically-minded Panamanians. We will uphold free and unencumbered U.S. access to the Canal. We hail the patriots of El Salvador and Nicaragua, whose bravery and blood thwarted Communism and Castro despite the inconstancy of Congressional Democrats. Together with other members of the Organization of American States, we will work to restore democracy to Haiti.
The Monroe Doctrine remains a cardinal principle of our foreign policy, and we continue to strive toward the day when the alien ideology of Communism and Fidel Castro's regime will be purged from Cuba, and Americans can welcome the Cuban people back into the family of free nations. Toward that end, we support Radio and TV Martí and the spirit of Cuba Libre.
In Asia, we remain committed to the spread of political and economic liberty. We will work with Japan for common progress and maintain our military presence in Japan and in Asia. We also will promote greater Japanese responsibility for self-defense and worldwide prosperity.
We reaffirm our commitment to the security of Taiwan and regard any attempt to alter its status by force as a threat to the entire region. We adhere to the Taiwan Relations Act, the basis for continuing cooperation with those who have stood loyally with us for half a century.
Our policy toward China is based on support for democratic reform. We need to maintain the relationship with China so that we can effectively encourage such reform. We will continue to work toward the day when the Chinese people will finally complete their journey to an open society, free of the deplorable restrictions on personal liberties that still exist.
We will maintain our close relationship with the Republic of Korea, helping to deter aggression from the north. North Korea remains an outlaw state and must not be permitted to acquire nuclear weapons.
With the people of the Philippines, we will maintain our special ties of history and affection.
We support the movement in Cambodia toward peace and democracy.
We demand the fullest possible accounting for America's POWs and MIAs in Southeast Asia. The grief of their families touches all of us. We will seek complete information in all forums and from all sources. Our President has put the government of Vietnam on notice: improved relations depend upon this goal.
In Africa, despite opposition from Congressional Democrats, we armed freedom fighters and helped force the withdrawal of Cuban troops. Now we enter the long season of building, trying to revive faith in democracy on a continent ravaged by Marxist wars, looted by local dictators, and misled by socialist ideology. Political and economic liberty are the keys.
We will support responsible efforts by the international community to help end the anarchy in Somalia and to address the plight of the people of that country suffering from drought and starvation. We condemn those who are using armed force to impede food distribution.
In South Africa, the Republican policy of constructive engagement—opposing apartheid while fostering peaceful change—has been successful. That nation's prospects have been transformed for the better, though many difficulties lie ahead. We condemn all violence against the innocent and applaud those who seek reconciliation to create a new, democratic South Africa. We encourage economic reform as crucial to both security and prosperity in the new South Africa.
We recognize that foreign aid must have a reasonable relationship to our national interests. We therefore support an ongoing review of such programs so that they can be both effectual and justified. We promote financial contribution from other democracies of the world to share the cost of the American burden for peacekeeping and foreign aid.
We support efforts by private voluntary agencies to help meet the needs of countries newly liberated from communism, and of the developing world, in such areas as medical, agricultural, educational, and entrepreneurial assistance.
Opening the World to American Business. The triumph of democracy is also a victory for economic freedom. All the world over, people in search of a better life are rejecting politicians' control of their future. This will mean a broader horizon for American opportunity. The whole world has become our marketplace.
The election of 1992 will determine whether our country seizes this tremendous opportunity or retreats from it. Republicans trust individuals and families to make their own economic decisions; Democrat politicians do not. We reject their program of strangled trade, industrial policy, high taxes, and regulation. We reject punitive taxes on foreign businesses in this country that only invite retaliatory taxes against U.S. businesses abroad. Trade war is the road to international depression—and for keeping American workers dependent on government handouts. We do not want to replace the arms race with a subsidies race.
Putting Americans first means keeping the national interest ahead of the special interests. It means opening the world to American goods within a system of free and expanding trade. Just as Ronald Reagan declared in Berlin, "Tear down this wall," so George Bush is dismantling the walls of protectionism in order to continue expanding our exports.
Our strong commitment to free trade also encompasses vigorous enforcement of U.S. trade laws. We expect a fair and level playing field in our trade with other nations and will work to ensure that foreign markets are just as open to our goods as U.S. markets are to theirs. In all negotiations concerning trade, we will put the interests of America first.
Throughout the world, as here at home, the Republican Party stands for growth. America's families have nothing to fear—and everything to gain—from the new era of free enterprise and prosperity that will emerge as free people compete, excel, and progress.
Banishing the Nuclear Nightmare. The world has moved from the brink of disaster to the threshold of historic opportunity. For almost half a century, we lived under the shadow of nuclear destruction. Today, that specter is fading. We will not stop here. We will banish the threat of nuclear annihilation from the face of the earth—not by savaging our military, as some Democrats might insist, but by building on the historic diplomatic achievements of Presidents Bush and Reagan.
This means assuring stable command and control of the former Soviet arsenal, complete acceptance and verified implementation of all treaty obligations by the successor states to the USSR, and achieving the additional 50 percent reduction in strategic forces now agreed upon. We must assist in dismantling weapons, transforming the massive Soviet war machine into an engine of peace and civilian revival. We will cooperate with our former adversaries both to curtail proliferation and to move beyond the ABM Treaty toward effective ballistic missile defenses.
We will not permit the Soviet nuclear nightmare to be replaced by another one. Outlaw nations—North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Libya and others—lust for weapons of mass destruction. This is the nightmare of proliferation: nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons that, together with ballistic missiles, can deliver death across whole continents, including our own.
We will renew and strengthen the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. We will design security policies to counter proliferation dangers. We will reinforce multilateral accords like the Missile Technology Control Regime. And most important, we will develop and deploy global defenses against ballistic missiles. Despite the opposition of the Democrat Party and congressional Democrats, we will deploy an effective strategic defense system for the American people.
Because America won the Cold War, our homes and neighborhoods are more secure than they have been for half a century. Our children are safer. The greatest peace dividend is peace itself. For it, we thank God.
Victory was never inevitable. It was won in blood and treasure, over five decades, by the American people—from the military on the front lines to the taxpayers sustaining the forces of freedom. It was also secured, and the course of mankind profoundly changed for the better, because two successive Republican Presidents, Ronald Reagan and George Bush, were dedicated to peace through strength.
"Peace through strength" was more than a slogan. It was the calculated Republican plan for, first, the survival and, then, the triumph, of America. But freedom did not come cheaply, and the new world we celebrate today required great sacrifice.
In 1981 we inherited from Jimmy Carter and anti-defense Democrats a crippled military: demoralized, underfunded, ill-equipped. Republicans told the truth to the American people; they heeded our call to arms. We restored our Armed Forces to their proper place in both the budget and the pride of the Nation. Our men and women in uniform today are the equals of the finest soldiers, sailors, and airmen who ever wore the uniform of our country.
Like earlier generations in 1918 and 1945, they won a great victory. Now, as in the aftermath of those earlier conflicts, comes the difficult task of reducing both the size and cost of defense without letting down America's guard. In the past, terrible mistakes were made, and we paid dearly for them when war came to Korea. We will not allow that to happen again.
America Challenged. The greatest danger to America's security is here at home, among those who would leave the Nation unprepared for the new realities of the post-Cold War world. The ruthless demagogues in rogue regimes are real; and so are the nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons they seek. The danger of nuclear proliferation is real, especially with the dispersal of nuclear know-how after the collapse of the U.S.S.R. That is why the Republican Party, whose leaders like Dan Quayle insisted upon fielding a new Patriot missile in the 1980s, now calls for a new generation of defense against the Scuds of tomorrow.
Rather than admit their mistakes of the past, the same liberal Democrats who sought to disarm America against the Soviet threat now compound their errors with a new campaign—half audacity, half mendacity—to leave the Nation unprotected in a still dangerous word.
Republicans call for a controlled defense drawdown, not a freefall. That is why President Bush proposes to carefully reduce defense spending over the next four years by an additional $34 billion, including $18 billion in outlays, with a 25 percent reduction in personnel. He has already eliminated over 100 weapon systems. Around the world, American forces are coming home from the frontiers of the Cold War. More than 550 overseas bases are being closed or realigned. Yet U.S. forces retain the ability to meet the challenge of another Desert Storm with equal success.
U.S. defense spending already has been reduced significantly. Five years ago, it was more than a quarter of the federal budget. By 1997 it will be less than a sixth. Spending on defense and intelligence, as a proportion of Gross Domestic Product, will be the lowest it has been since before World War II.
Yet any defense budget, however lean, is still too much for the Democrats. They want to start by cutting defense outlays over the next four years by nearly $60 billion beyond the President's cuts, throwing as many as one million additional Americans out of work. And this may be just the beginning, as the Democrats use the defense budget as a bottomless piggybank to try to beat swords into pork barrels. This is folly. It would take us back to the "hollow military" of the Carter era. Once American defenses are allowed to decay, they cannot be rebuilt overnight. Effective arsenals, like effective leaders, require years of patient development. And our greatest asset of all, the people on whom our security depends, deserve a constant long-term investment in their quality, morale, and safety. Republicans pledge to provide it.
America Secure. Because the U.S. will rely on a smaller force of offensive nuclear weapons to deter aggression in the post-Cold War era, we will maintain the triad of land, sea, and air-based strategic forces. We will continue to test the safety, reliability, and effectiveness of our nuclear weapons.
With a smaller military, modernization of conventional forces is more important than ever. Desert Storm showed the importance of "force multipliers" like smart munitions, stealth technology, and night-fighting capabilities. We will upgrade existing weapons and selectively procure those that hold the promise of dramatic forward leaps in capability. Under no circumstances will we yield our technological superiority.
We must remain ready to defend American citizens and interests wherever they may be threatened. Essential to that readiness is maintenance of a strong, global navy and modernization of vital airlift and sealift capacity. We remain committed to combating terrorism in all its forms wherever it threatens U.S. citizens or interests.
Republicans will preserve the Nation's access to space for defense, as well as for other purposes, and ensure that space technology does not fall into dangerous hands.
Transformed by the collapse of Communism, our Strategic Defense Initiative is now designed to provide the U. S. and our allies with global defenses against limited ballistic missile attacks. SDI is the greatest investment in peace we could ever make. This system will be our shield against technoterrorism. Russia has agreed to be our partner in it, sharing early warning information and jointly moving forward to stop those who would rain death upon the innocent.
We will use missile defenses to assure threatened nations that they do not need to acquire ballistic missiles of their own. We will move beyond the ABM Treaty to deploy effective defenses with the goal of someday eliminating, not merely reducing, the threat of nuclear holocaust.
We support efforts to reduce armaments, both conventional and otherwise, but the most effective arms control of all over the long run is democracy. Free nations do not attack one another. That is why the promotion of democracy on every continent is an essential part of the Republican defense agenda.
Managing the Peace. A new era in defense requires new approaches to management, to get more out of every dollar in a shrinking budget. That calls for dramatically different ways of doing business. For example, President Bush's reforms in defense management and acquisition already mean massive savings—$70 billion through 1997—without sacrificing combat capability.
Our Armed Forces will still depend on our superb industrial base for everything from belt buckles to submarines. We cannot lose that engineering and manufacturing capability. This is especially true of the high technology, demonstrated in Desert Storm, that made our enemies realize they had been left behind in the race for the future. We therefore pledge to maintain America's technological lead, preserve its defense industrial base, and maintain robust levels of investment in research and development.
We will attack the problem of waste in the military, especially at its root in the pork barrel politics of Capitol Hill. A Republican Congress will end the costly micromanagement of defense programs and reduce the number and scope of oversight committees. We will urge the Department of Defense to encourage a broader constituency for saving and to continue genuine procurement reforms based on performance rather than unreasonable regulations imposed by the Democrat Congress. We will continue the successful effort to eliminate redundancy and streamline all facets of defense management.
We applaud the President's efforts to assist all individuals and communities adversely affected by the ongoing defense builddown, with more than 30 defense adjustment programs already in place and over $7 billion committed to the effort in just the next two years.
The Men and Women of Defense. Republicans created the all-volunteer Army and we hail its success. We pledge to keep faith with the men and women volunteers and with their families, for they are the backbone of the Nation's defense. We oppose Democrat efforts to bring back the draft, whether directly or through the subterfuge of compulsory domestic service.
The Armed Forces are a color-blind meritocracy, a model for the rest of our society. Its enlistees should receive preference in federal education and retraining programs. We applaud the advancement of women in the military and single out for special recognition the outstanding contribution of women in Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm. However, we oppose liberal Democrat attempts to place women in combat positions just to make an ideological point. Unlike the Democrat Party and its candidate, we support the continued exclusion of homosexuals from the military as a matter of good order and discipline.
The Department of Defense will not be an exception to our assertion of family values. Republicans will not tolerate sexual harassment or misconduct toward any individual in the ranks. We demand both its prevention and its punishment. To drive home that point, we urge a halt to the sale, in military facilities, of sexually explicit materials. We call for greater consideration of the needs of families when parents are called to duty.
We must ensure that all of the various benefits, including medical, that were promised to the men and women who chose to make the military and the defense of their Nation a career are fulfilled even upon retirement.
In the Republican tradition of support for America's veterans, we proposed and created a Department of Veterans Affairs so their concerns would be represented at the Cabinet table. We affirm our support for veterans preference in federal employment and for sufficient funding to maintain the integrity of the veterans hospital and medical care system. We strongly endorse programs to meet the needs of unemployed veterans.
Intelligence. Desert Storm reminded us that our intelligence community is a national asset of critical importance to our security.
Assuring the availability of timely and reliable information on regional threats and unrest, drug trafficking, terrorism, technology transfer, proliferation, and a host of other issues—this is one of our highest national priorities in the post-Cold War world. U.S. policymakers also must have the best possible understanding of international trade, investment, industrial, financial, and other developments that affect our economic security.
We must and will maintain the full range of our traditional intelligence capabilities, including covert action, to ensure our security in a dangerous and unpredictable world. We reject the Democrat candidate's proposal to cripple U.S. intelligence and decry the deep spending cuts to the intelligence budget sponsored by Democrats in Congress.
Proven Leadership. George Bush has been the most important architect of Western aspirations and designs for the challenging world we are now entering. His record is dear. President Bush has shown he understands how to lead in this new era, where the preeminent position of the United States offers new opportunities to build an international consensus on key issues. President Bush, with experienced Republican leadership, has proven he knows how to place our Nation at the center of effective coalitions where our power is multiplied.
The test of international leadership is on the field, not in a playbook. The Oval Office is no place for on-the-job training—not in carrying out the Presidential duty to protect and defend our Nation, not in managing the arsenal of the supreme nuclear power. There are those who talk and those who perform. George Bush has clearly performed for America, making the right calls in a series of tough decisions that helped transform the world.
Now that we have won the Cold War, we must secure the peace that follows. History has shown that the years following conflict are often critical—where the choices made can either lay the foundation for lasting peace or sow the seeds of future war. In this period of high hopes and great challenges ahead, the Nation needs the tested and experienced leadership of President Bush and the Republican Party.