- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Foley scandal has dropped off the front pages and House Republicans are aggressively trying to shift attention in the final weeks of the campaign season to the healthy economy and the damage they say would be done if Democrats take control of Congress.

“Today’s record-setting stock market rally is proof that Republican economic policies of tax relief work,” said House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert of Illinois. He hailed the Dow Jones Industrial Average passage of the 12,000 mark, which he said was largely a result of efforts by the Republican-controlled Congress to cut taxes and streamline government regulation.

“If Democrats had their way, they would erase stock market gains by raising taxes and stalling the economy, destroying job growth and putting leaders in place that are in favor of tax increases,” Mr. Hastert said. “In fact, if the Democratic majority blocked our efforts at making tax relief permanent, Nancy Pelosi and the leadership would raise taxes on hardworking American families with two children by at least $2,000.”

Republicans issued a list of initiatives that they fear would gain traction under a Democrat-led Congress.

Among them is H.R. 3760, which would create the Department of Peace. Authored by Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich, Ohio Democrat, the Department of Peace and Nonviolence Act has 74 co-sponsors.

Also listed is H.R. 4683, which essentially would nationalize health care by expanding Medicare to cover all Americans.

Others Democratic proposals they cited included eliminating mandatory minimum sentences for selling crack cocaine, allowing felons to vote, federal regulation of restaurant menus and a “bill of welfare rights” that would grant protections to those on welfare.

“This list of the bills,” said Majority Whip Roy Blunt of Missouri, “would be great fodder for the late-night talk show hosts if it weren’t true. Instead, it’s just plain scary.”

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, yesterday restated her belief that the House needs new leadership.

“Republicans are determined to stay the course with their failed policies that have taken America in the wrong direction,” she said. “As our economy continues to leave middle-class families behind, the war in Iraq spirals out of control, and charges of corruption and scandal swirl in Congress, the American people believe it is time for a change — not Republican business as usual.”

If Democrats win control, Mrs. Pelosi said, “we will turn the most closed and corrupt Congress in history into the most open and honest. We will take our nation in a new direction by restoring truth and trust to the halls of power with our honest leadership, open government act.”

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