Thursday, July 8, 2004

Conservative House Republicans, concerned about a voter rebellion over increased spending by Congress and the Bush administration, yesterday issued six criteria that they said should apply to every piece of legislation.

Led by Rep. Sue Myrick of North Carolina, chairman of the House Republican Study Committee, party members called a press conference to introduce wallet cards imprinted with “six commandments” of traditional, limited-government conservatism.

“These cards will be a reminder to everybody that if we applied these principles to every vote on every bill, we would be able to have limited government and a more responsible government,” Mrs. Myrick said.

The cards will be distributed to all Republican lawmakers and to any Democrat who requests one.

Asked whether introducing the cards at a press conference had anything to do with re-election concerns, Mrs. Myrick said: “A lot of our base around the country is very disturbed about spending” by Congress and the White House. “We hear about it when we go home.”

Rep. Tom Feeney, Florida Republican, designed the cards, patterned on those he had created for fellow Republicans when he was speaker of the Florida House.

“The Goldwater-Reagan wing of our party won all the intellectual, moral and ballot-box fights for the soul of the party for two decades,” Mr. Feeney said. “But we’ve had too many bad experiences since we gained the White House and both houses of Congress, to the point where it seems the Rockefeller wing is dominating policy.”

Many “members of the so-called ‘party of limited government’ who helped to pass one of the largest entitlement programs in recent history (the Bush-backed prescription drug bill) need a good reminder to return to their conservative ideals,” said the nonpartisan National Taxpayers Union.

Republican Study Committee members Reps. George P. Radanovich of California, Jeb Hensarling of Texas, Jeff Flake of Arizona and Joe Wilson of South Carolina also attended the briefing.

The cards command the bearer to ask whether the legislation would:

• Tend to reduce government regulations, size of government, eliminate entitlements, or unnecessary programs.

• Promote individual responsibility in spending, or reduce taxes or fees.

• Encourage responsible behavior by individuals and families and encourage them to provide for their own health, safety, education, moral fortitude, or general welfare.

• Increase opportunities for individuals or families to decide, without hindrance or coercion from government, how to conduct their own lives and make personal choices.

• Enhance the traditional American family and its power to rear children without excessive interference from the government.

• Enhance American security without unduly burdening civil liberty.

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