- The Washington Times - Friday, June 1, 2001

House Majority Leader Dick Armey told Republican colleagues yesterday not to "wring our hands" over Democrats regaining control of the Senate and to stick together as a team.
"We should do business with the Senate as we always have: accept its good bills, improve its flawed ones, kill its bad ones," Mr. Armey said in a memo. "We should keep moving the Republican reform agenda through the House without apology."
When the Republican-led House returns from its weeklong recess next week, it will confront a Democratic-controlled Senate for the first time in six years. Thats because Sen. James M. Jeffords of Vermont decided last week to quit the Republican Party and become an independent.
Mr. Jeffords move gives the Senate 50 Democrats, 49 Republicans and one independent. Democrats will control the floor agenda and all 20 Senate committees.
Mr. Armey said Mr. Jeffords move "does dampen our celebrations a bit" after approving the administrations $1.35 trillion tax-cut plan.
The defection "forces us to face a new Democratic majority in the Senate — a majority clearly determined to raise taxes, expand government and bring our progress to a halt," Mr. Armey said.
The Texas Republican urged House lawmakers not to "passively let Senate Democrats set the agenda, nor abandon our own common-sense agenda in a vain search for approval by pundits and liberals."
He said the Republicans agenda for the next few months in the House includes reforming education, holding down spending, cutting more taxes, strengthening Social Security and Medicare, promoting President Bushs faith-based charity plan, helping the uninsured to afford private health insurance and reducing energy prices by increasing supply.
The Republican leader did not mention campaign-finance legislation, which Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, and his allies are pressing for action by the House. Mr. McCains bill, which would ban large, unregulated donations to political parties and restrict advertising, was approved by the Senate, but has received little attention yet in the House.
Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, Illinois Republican, has said he expects the House to consider campaign-finance regulations sometime this summer.
"I cant stress enough the importance of teamwork," Mr. Armey told his Republican colleagues. "Wherever weve succeeded, its been because of our unity and discipline."
"I think we should pursue bipartisanship, but by that term, I mean honest compromise for the common good, as we saw with the just-passed tax cut," he said. "Not the Daschle-Gephardt definition of bipartisanship — 'doing it our way."
Rep. Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri is the House minority leader, and Sen. Tom Daschle of South Dakota is the incoming majority leader in the Senate.
"The Democrats may control the Senate, but our ideas remain strong, and popular, and our agenda is a good one," Mr. Armey said. "So let us continue to advance that common-sense agenda in the House."


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