- The Washington Times - Friday, November 19, 2004

Congress will send President Bush legislation overhauling both Social Security and the tax code by the end of 2006, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay will tell top conservatives in a speech tonight.

“Social Security and tax reform are both on the agenda for the 109th Congress, and we plan to send both bills to the president before we adjourn two years from now,” Mr. DeLay will tell the Council for National Policy, according to excerpts from the speech text.

Mr. DeLay will tell the group of top-level conservative activists and policy people that his declaration puts an end to Washington discussions he has heard that Congress will try to accomplish one of those objectives before the midterm congressional elections and put off the other until afterward.

“We’re going to do both before the 2006 elections,” he says, according to the excerpts.

Mr. Bush has claimed a mandate to tackle both objectives during his second administration, but some observers doubt he will be able to do either.

Both bills must pass the House, where a solid Republican majority and control of the floor process should help, and the Senate, where Democrats have enough votes to filibuster any legislation they choose.

Even some Republicans are saying it will be a chore to pass both bills so quickly.

“It’s easy to promise that. It’s going to be pretty hard to deliver it,” said one Republican leadership aide.

The aide said Social Security probably will come first, because that is the direction the White House is leaning and proposals already are in place. Republicans generally agree that they want to create some sort of private investment accounts as part of Social Security.

To accomplish tax reform, meanwhile, Republicans first will have to solve the split between those who favor a national sales tax and those who favor a flat income tax before turning to specific legislation.

Mr. DeLay, though, says Republicans must be prepared to move on a series of major reforms to justify what he called “the most inclusive, diverse, comprehensive and meaningful election victory since Franklin Roosevelt was sent to Washington in 1932.”

“The next two years will provide the Republican Party an opportunity our parents never had, and our children may never have — to reform and re-form our government around our principles,” he says.

Mr. DeLay also takes jabs at TV personalities and others who seemed disappointed in the outcome of the Nov. 2 election.

“Setting aside the anecdotal evidence of Katie Couric wearing black the following morning on the ‘Today’ show, just look at the absolute nonsense that has been said,” Mr. DeLay says.

He points specifically to a column that novelist Jane Smiley wrote for Slate.com in which she said, “Ignorance and bloodlust have a long tradition in the United States, especially in the red states,” and she said ignorance works when “they put the fear of God into you.”

“That’s funny, because the way I heard it, here is how ignorance works: First they give you a column on Slate.com,” Mr. DeLay says.

The Texan then turns his attention to the New York Times and columnist Paul Krugman, who wrote that he does not “hope for worse scandals and failures during Mr. Bush’s second term, but I do expect them.”

Then the counterpunch: “In Mr. Krugman’s defense, I suppose if anyone can speak with authority about scandals and failures over the last four years, who better than a writer for the New York Times.”

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