1996 Republican Platform
Adopted August 12, 1996
We meet to nominate a candidate and pass a platform at a moment of measureless national opportunity. A new century beckons, and Americans are more than equal to its challenges. But there is a problem. The Clinton administration has proven unequal to the heritage of our past, the promise of our times, and the character of the American people. They require more and demand better. With them, we raise our voices and raise our sights.
We are the heirs of world leadership that was earned by bravery and sacrifice on half a thousand battlefields. We will soon nominate for the presidency a man who knew battle and so loves peace, a man who lives bravely and so walks humbly with his God and his fellow citizens. We walk with him now as he joins one more battle, every bit as crucial for our country's future as was the crusade in which he served.
Just when America should be leading the world, we have an administration squandering the international respect it did not earn and does not value. Just when America should be demonstrating anew the dynamic power of economic freedom, we have an administration working against both history and public opinion to expand the reach and burden of government. Just when Americans are reasserting their deepest values, we have an administration locked into the counterculture battles of its youth.
Americans are right to say we are on the wrong track. Our prestige in the world is declining. Economic growth here at home is anemic. Our society grows more violent and less decent. The only way the Clinton administration can magnify its questionable accomplishments is to lower our expectations. Those who lead the Democrat party call America to smaller tasks and downsized dreams.
That is not the calling of an American president.
Today's Democrat leaders do not understand leadership. They reduce principles to tactics. They talk endlessly and confront nothing. They offer, not convictions, but alibis. They are paralyzed by indecision, weakened by scandal and guided only by the perpetuation of their own power.
We asked for change. We worked for reform. We offered cooperation and consensus. Now, the asking is over. The Clinton administration cannot be reinvented, it must be replaced.
Republicans do not duplicate or fabricate or counterfeit a vision for the land we love. With our fellow citizens, we assert the present power of timeless truths.
This is what we want for America: real prosperity that reaches beyond the stock market to every family, small business and worker. An economy expanding as fast as American enterprise and creativity will carry it, free from unnecessary taxes, regulation and litigation.
This is what we want for America: the restoration of self-government by breaking Washington's monopoly on power. The American people want their country back. We will help them to regain it.
This too we want for America: moral clarity in our culture and ethical leadership in the White House. We offer America, not a harsh moralism, but our sincere conviction that the values we hold in our hearts determine the success of our lives and the shape of our society. It matters greatly that our leaders reflect and communicate those values, not undermine or mock them.
The diversity of our nation is reflected in this platform. We ask for the support and participation of all who substantially share our agenda. In one way or another, every Republican is a dissenter. At the same time, we are not morally indifferent. In this, as in many things, Lincoln is our model. At a time of great crisis, he spoke both words of healing and words of conviction. We do likewise, not for the peace of a political party, but because we citizens are bound together in a great enterprise for our children's future.
The platform that follows marshals these principles and sends them into action. We aim at nothing less than an economy of dynamic growth; a renewal of community, self-government and citizenship; and a national reaffirmation of the enduring principles on which America's greatness depends. We will count our victories, not in elections won or in economic numbers on a chart, but in the everyday achievements of the American dream: when a man or woman discovers the dignity and confidence of a job; when a child rejects drugs and embraces life; when an entrepreneur turns an idea into an industry; when a family once again feels the security of its savings and has control over the education of its children.
None of the extraordinary things about our country are gifts of government. They are the accomplishments of free people in a free society. They are achievements, not entitlements - and are sweeter for that fact. They result when men and women live in obedience to their conscience, not to the state. All our efforts as Republicans are guided by the fixed star of this single principle: that freedom always exceeds our highest expectations.
This is the greatest task before the Republican Party: to raise the bar of American expectations. Of the potential of our economy. Of the order and civility of our culture. Of what a president can be, and what the presidency must be again.
There is a continuing revolution in the yellowed parchment and faded ink of the American creed... a revolution that will long outlive us. It can carry the weight of all our hopes. It can reward every dreamer. It is the reason that America's finest hour is never a memory and always a goal.
With trust in God and in fidelity to generations past and generations to come, we respectfully submit this platform to the American people.
PRINCIPLES OF THE 1996 REPUBLICAN PLATFORM
Because Americans are a diverse and tolerant people, they have differences of opinion on many issues. But as a people, we share a common dream and common goals:
A strong America that protects its citizens and champions their democratic ideals throughout the world,
An America with a vibrant and growing economy that improves the standard of living for all,
An America with a smaller, more effective and less intrusive government that trusts its people to decide what is best for them,
An America whose people feel safe and secure in their homes, on their streets, and in their communities,
An America where our children receive the best education in the world and learn the values like decency and responsibility that made this country great,
And an America with the compassion to care for those who cannot care for themselves.
Principles Because the American Dream fulfills the promise of liberty, we believe it should be attainable by all through more and secure jobs, home ownership, personal security, and education that meets the challenges of the century ahead. Because a dynamic and growing economy is the best way to create more and better paying jobs, with greater security in the work place, we believe in lower taxes within a simpler tax system, in tandem with fair and open trade and a balanced federal budget. Because wasteful government spending and over-regulation, fueled by higher taxes, are the greatest obstacles to job creation and economic growth, we believe in a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution and a common-sense approach to government rules and red tape. Because we recognize our obligation to foster hope and opportunity for those unable to care for themselves, we believe in welfare reform that eliminates waste, fraud and abuse; requires work from those who are capable; limits time on public assistance; discourages illegitimacy; and reduces the burden on the taxpayers. Because all Americans have the right to be safe in their homes, on their streets, and in their communities, we believe in tough law enforcement, especially against juvenile crime and the drug traffic, with stiff penalties, no loopholes, and judges who respect the rights of law-abiding Americans. Because institutions like the family are the backbone of a healthy society, we believe government must support the rights of the family; and recognizing within our own ranks different approaches toward our common goal, we reaffirm respect for the sanctity of human life. Because our children need and are entitled to the best education in the world, we believe in parental involvement and family choice in schooling, teacher authority and accountability, more control to local school boards, and emphasis upon the basics of learning in safe classrooms. Because older Americans have built our past and direct us, in wisdom and experience, toward the future, we believe we must meet our nation's commitments to them by preserving and protecting Medicare and Social Security. Because a good society rests on an ethical foundation, we believe families, communities, and religious institutions can best teach the American values of honesty, responsibility, hard work, compassion, and mutual respect. Because our country's greatest strength is its people, not its government, we believe today's government is too large and intrusive and does too many things the people could do better for themselves. Because we trust our fellow Americans, rather than centralized government, we believe the people, acting through their State and local elected officials, should have control over programs like education and welfare - thereby pushing power away from official Washington and returning it to the people in their communities and states. Because we view the careful development of our country's natural resources as stewardship of creation, we believe property rights must be honored in our efforts to restore, protect, and enhance the environment for the generations to come. Because we are all one America, we oppose discrimination. We believe in the equality of all people before the law and that individuals should be judged by their ability rather than their race, creed, or disability. Because this is a difficult and dangerous world, we believe that peace can be assured only through strength, that a strong national defense is necessary to protect America at home and secure its interests abroad, and that we must restore leadership and character to the presidency as the best way to restore America's leadership and credibility throughout the world.
BUILDING A BETTER AMERICA Improving the Standard of Living Tax Relief for Economic Growth Balancing the Budget and Reducing Spending Creating Jobs for Americans Homeownership Promoting Trade and International Prosperity
"This is no time for diminished expectations. This is no time to sell America's potential short. This is a time to let go of the 20th Century and embrace the 21st - to seize the promise of the new era by liberating the genius of the American people." Bob Dole, September 5, 1995 in Chicago, Illinois
Improving the Standard of Living
We are the party of America's earners, savers, and taxpayers - the people who work hard, take risks and build a better future for our families and our communities. Our party believes that we can best improve the standard of living in America by empowering the American people to act in their own behalf by: cutting the near-record tax burden on Americans; reducing government spending and its size, while balancing the budget. creating jobs; using the benefits of science, technology and innovations to improve both our lives and our competitiveness in the global economy; dramatically increasing the number of families who can own their own home; and unleashing the competitiveness and will to win of individual Americans on the world trade scene with free but fair trade.
That's not wishful thinking; it's what we, the American people, used to take for granted before the growth of big government began to shadow our days and smother our hopes. In the 1980s - when we cut taxes, restrained regulation, and reduced government spending as a share of the nation's economy - prosperity made a comeback. Jobs were created, incomes rose and poverty fell for seven straight years. Then the Democrat-controlled Congress forced the tax hikes of 1990 and jammed through Bill Clinton's tax bill of 1993.
Since then, Clintonomics has produced an economy that is squeezing the middle class between high taxes and low growth. The astounding fact is that we were growing 50% faster in 1992, when Bill Clinton described the economy as the worst in five decades. We've managed to avoid a recession only because the Republican Congress put the brakes on Bill Clinton's rush to ruin by substantially reducing government spending over the last two years. But we cannot go on like this. For millions of families, the American Dream is fading. Our goal is to revive it, renew it, and extend it to all who reach for it.
Our formula for growth, opportunity, and a better family life is simple: Trust the people, cut their taxes, scale back the size and scope of government, foster job creation, and get out of the way. We've done it before, we can do it again.
Tax Relief for Economic Growth
American families are suffering from the twin burdens of stagnant incomes and near-record taxes. This is the key cause of middle-class anxiety. It is why people feel they are working harder, but falling further behind; why they fear the current generation will not be as successful as the last generation; why they believe their children will be worse off; and why they feel so anxious about their own economic future.
After averaging 1.7 percent growth annually during the expansion following the 1981 tax cut, family incomes have failed to grow at all under Bill Clinton. Since 1990, families have actually lost much of the ground they gained during the low-tax, high-growth 1980s.
Anemic economic growth under Bill Clinton is largely responsible for this lost ground. The current economic expansion has not only failed to compare to the growth seen in the decade preceding his administration, it is the slowest recovery in the last 100 years. Since 1992, the economy has grown by only 2.4 percent per year, compared to 3.2 percent in the previous 10 years and 3.9 percent between 1983 and 1989.
Bill Clinton has demonstrated that he fails to understand the role excessive tax burdens play on the economy and family incomes. In the first year of his administration, he pushed through the largest tax increase in history, raising taxes on families, senior citizens, and small businesses. Confronted with Republican attempts to cut family and business taxes, he vetoed the 1995 Balanced Budget Act which included the $500 per child tax credit as well as incentives to increase savings, economic growth and job creation.
The Clinton tax increase has produced the second-highest tax burden in American history. Federal tax collections now consume more than one-fifth of our total economic output. Federal, state, and local taxes take more than 38 cents out of every dollar the American family earns. The federal tax burden alone is now approaching a record 25 percent of family income.
American families deserve better. They should be allowed to keep more of their hard-earned money so they can spend on their priorities, as opposed to sending ever-increasing amounts to Washington to be spent on the priorities of federal bureaucrats.
In response to this unprecedented burden confronting America, we support an across-the-board, 15-percent tax cut to marginal tax rates. Fifteen percent represents the total increase in the federal tax burden since Bill Clinton took office, and we believe such a cut should be the first step towards reducing overall tax burdens while promoting the economic growth that will raise family incomes and our overall standard of living.
Another drag on family finances has been government's failure to maintain the personal and dependent exemption at historic levels. If the personal and dependent exemption that was $600 in 1950 had kept pace with inflation, it would be $3,800 rather than the current $2,500. That is why Republicans have made the $500-per-child family tax credit one of the primary features of our tax cut package.
Job creation and increasing family incomes depend on economic growth, and a precondition for economic growth is a healthy rate of saving and investment. Nevertheless, Bill Clinton vetoed Republican bills to provide these incentives, including expanded and more generous IRAs - and new spousal IRAs - which could be used for health care, education, and home-buying. As a result, today's personal savings rate is less than half what it was two decades ago. Republicans support expansion of IRAs and the establishment of spousal IRAs to encourage savings and investment.
Bill Clinton also vetoed provisions to reduce the capital gains tax rate. Excessive taxes on investment cripple the American economy and kill American jobs by increasing the cost of capital, locking in resources, and stifling small business growth and entrepreneurial activity. Largely because of these excessive taxes, American businesses face a competitive disadvantage with respect to our major trading partners, hurting their ability to export products abroad and create jobs. To remove impediments to job creation and economic growth, we support reducing the top tax rate on capital gains by 50 percent.
In 1993, Bill Clinton raised taxes on millions of middle-class retirees by dramatically increasing the income tax on Social Security benefits. This targeted attack on the economic security of our elderly was unfair and misguided. Republicans believe that this Clinton initiative must be repealed.
These proposals making the current tax code fairer and less burdensome should be viewed as an interim step towards comprehensive tax reform. The current tax code is ridiculously complex and unfair. It is also an unnecessary drag on the economy. At a time when business investment plans are greatly diminished and savings rates are unacceptably low, we must reform our tax system to remove existing artificial, government-induced bias against saving and investment.
To that end, we firmly commit to a tax code for the 21st century that will raise revenue sufficient for a smaller, more effective and less wasteful government without increasing the national debt. That new tax system must be flatter, fairer, and simpler, with a minimum of exclusions from its coverage, and one set of rules applying to all. It must be simple enough to be understood by all and enforced by few, with a low-cost of compliance which replaces the current stack of endless forms with a calculation which can be performed on the back of a postcard.
It must expand the economy and increase opportunity by rewarding initiative and hard work. It must foster job creation and end bias against saving. It must promote personal freedom and innovation. It must do all this in order to boost wages and raise living standards for all of America's working families.
A simple, fair tax system that is pro-growth and pro-family will not need today's burdensome IRS. That agency has become a nightmare for law-abiding taxpayers. It must be dramatically downsized - with resources going to more important efforts like drug enforcement - and made less intrusive.
To protect the American people from those who would undo their forthcoming victory over big government, we support legislation requiring a super-majority vote in both houses of Congress to raise taxes.
We also support a government that keeps its word. Retroactive taxation, like Bill Clinton's infamous 1993 tax hike, breaks that word. We pledge a legislative or constitutional remedy to prohibit its repetition. Because of their vital role in fostering charity and patriotism, we oppose taxing religious and fraternal benefit societies. We will not tolerate attempts to impose taxes by federal judges.
Balancing the Budget and Reducing Spending
"We didn't dig ourselves into a $5 trillion debt because the American people are undertaxed. We got that $5 trillion debt because government overspends." "The budget deficit is a 'stealth tax' that pushes up interest rates and costs the typical family $36,000 on an average home mortgage, $1,400 on an ordinary student loan, and $700 on a car loan." Bob Dole Raising tax rates is the wrong way to balance the budget. It enables the Clinton tax addicts to wastefully spend the public's money. Republicans support a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution, phased in over a short period and with appropriate safeguards for national emergencies. We passed it in the House of Representatives, but Bill Clinton and his allies - especially the Senate's somersault six, who switched their long-standing position on the issue - blocked it by a single vote. As president, Bob Dole will lead the fight for that amendment, and in the States, Republicans will finish the fight for its speedy ratification. Once and for all, we declare: the budget deficit and high taxes are two halves of the vise that is producing the Clinton middle class squeeze; a balanced budget and lower taxes go hand in hand, not in separate directions; reducing the budget deficit by shrinking government produces a fiscal dividend in stronger growth and lower interest rates; ending that deficit will make possible a dramatic return of resources to the American people; tax relief is the only way to return the economy to the growth rates our country enjoyed from World War II to the coming of Bill Clinton; and we will not mortgage our children's future by incurring deficits
A president should be Commander-in-Chief in the nation's budget battle as well as in military conflicts. Bill Clinton has been AWOL - Absent Without Leadership. Congressional Republicans had to fight his Senate allies for over a year just to give him a line-item veto for appropriation bills. Instead of helping us strengthen the presidency in this way, he set an historic precedent: vetoing whole appropriation bills because they spent too little money! His vetoes essentially shut down much of the government.
We make this promise: A Republican president will veto money bills that spend too much, not too little, and will use the line-item veto to lead the charge against wasteful spending. A Republican president will build on the achievements of our Republican Congress which has cut spending in excess of $53 billion over the last two years.
The Clinton Administration's tactic of using irresponsible monetary policy to hide the effects of their bad fiscal policies leads to: higher inflation; lower growth; fewer jobs; and scarcity of capital to fund small businesses.
This is not only bad economics; it is a hidden tax against both income and savings. We pledge a non-political monetary policy to keep prices stable and maintain public confidence in the value of the dollar.
Creating Jobs for Americans
Our goal is to empower the American people by expanding employment and entrepreneurial opportunities. Fundamentally, jobs are created in the private sector.
Small businesses are the engines of growth and job creation. They generate 75 percent of new jobs and 55 percent of our gross domestic product. The Republican Party is committed to the survival, the revival, and the resurgence of small business. In addition to our overall program of lower taxes, regulatory reform, and less spending, we will: allow small businesses to deduct the costs of their health insurance; restore the fair home-office deduction so important to start-up businesses; assure that no one who inherits a small business or farm has to sell it to pay inheritance taxes; make the IRS stop its discrimination against independent contractors; enact both legal reform and product liability legislation to shield small businesses and protect jobs from the threat of unfair litigation; and transfer from the public sector services that can be provided by the private sector more efficiently and cost effectively.
Small business is a force for enormous progress, socially, politically, and economically. This is both an economic and a civil rights agenda. Small businesses owned by women now employ more people than all the Fortune 500 companies combined. Republican-created enterprise zones will offer dramatic opportunities to workers employed by small businesses, particularly minorities and the "Forgotten Workers." Republicans support the creation of jobs in all areas of the country, from the inner city to rural America.
We must create the workplace of the future so that it becomes a vehicle for personal liberation for those who seek a foothold on the opportunity ladder. We advocate increased access to capital for businesses to expand, export, and bring new products and technologies to market. We propose to consolidate federal training programs and to transfer their administration to the States and local governments.
Restraining the size and spending of government is only part of the job. We must transform official policies and attitudes toward productive Americans. Many of our labor laws and job training programs are out of date and out of touch with the needs of today's workers. Both the Davis-Bacon Act and the Service Contract Act, for example, have come to restrict opportunity, increase costs, and inhibit innovation.
Congressional Republicans have already launched a fight against the union bosses' ban on flex-time and comp-time in private industry. Those innovations are especially important to families with children. Government has no business forbidding America's workers to arrange their schedules to suit the needs of their own families.
In the same spirit, we will enact the TEAM Act to empower employers and employees to act as a team, rather than as adversaries, to advance their common interests. (It is opposed only by those who profit from labor conflict, for whom Bill Clinton has vetoed the bill.) Another way to replace conflict with concerted action is to transform OSHA from an adversarial agency into a pioneering advocate of safer productivity. We will mesh its activities with the work of councils formed under the TEAM Act to advance worker protection from the ground up.
In contrast, the Clinton Administration has produced no regulatory reform, no tax relief, no product liability reform, and no legal reform.
Our vision is that everyone who seeks a job will have a job. We will break the "job lock" and bring employment opportunities to all Americans. Science, Technology, and Innovation in the 21st Century
Our goal is to empower the American people by using the benefits of advanced science to improve their quality of life without undue restraint from government. Our bottom line is more jobs, better jobs, and a higher standard of living for the families of America.
As we prepare for the dawn of a new century, it is essential that our public policies keep pace with an evolving economy. Increased productivity is essential to expand the economy and improve the standard of living of all Americans. A recent report by the Office of Technology Assessment attributes at least half of all economic growth in the United States to advances in technology.
America is expanding its leadership role as a country that fosters innovation and technological advances, the essential ingredients of increased productivity. Leading these efforts are the men and women - and high technology businesses - that foster creative solutions to world problems. We must create policies that enable these thoughtful leaders to continue to invest in research and development. U.S. research and development (R&D;) investment has increased significantly over the past two decades and currently accounts for about 2.6 percent of the nation's gross domestic product. The private sector has been the main engine behind this growth, contributing over 60 percent of the national R&D; investment. Such investment has led to increased employment and high-quality jobs. Businesses that invest heavily in R&D; tend to create more jobs, and to employ high-skilled workers in those new jobs at above average wage levels.
Research and development is our commitment to the future. It is our investment in the future. We must design tax and regulatory policies that encourage private sector research and experimentation, while lowering the cost of such investments.
We believe the marketplace, not bureaucrats, can determine which technologies and entrepreneurs best meet the needs of the public. American companies must use the most advanced production technologies, telecommunications, and information management systems. Technological advance means economic growth, higher productivity, and more security. We therefore support private-sector funding of applied research, especially in emerging technologies, and improved education in science and engineering. American workers must have the knowledge and training to effectively utilize the capabilities of those new systems.
Federal science programs must emphasize basic research. The tax code must foster research and development. These policies will increase the pace of technological developments by de-emphasizing the role of government and strengthening the role of the private sector. We will advance the innovative ideas and pioneering spirit that make possible the impossible.
New discoveries to bolster America's international competitiveness are essential. The fruits of federally funded research led to the creation of the biotechnology industry through the Bayh-Dole Act. This is an example of innovation and risk-taking, creating 2,000 biotechnology companies employing thousands of employees and selling billions of dollars of products to keep us first and foremost in the global marketplace.
The communications revolution empowers individuals, enhances health care, opens up opportunity for rural areas, and strengthens families and institutions. A Dole-led Congress passed the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to promote the full and open competition and freedom of choice in the telecommunications marketplace. In contrast, the Clinton-Gore Administration repeatedly defended big-government regulation. This micromanagement of the Information Age is an impediment to the development of America's information superhighway.
We support the broadest access to telecommunications networks and services, based upon marketplace capabilities. The Internet today is the most staggering example of how the Information Age can and will enhance the lives of Americans everywhere. To further this explosion of new-found freedoms and opportunities, privacy, through secured communications, has never been more important. Bob Dole and the Republican Party will promote policies that ensure that the U. S. remains the world leader in science, technology, and innovation.
Homeownership is central to the American Dream. It is a commitment to a safe and stable community. It is not something government gives to the people, but rather something they can attain for themselves in a non-inflationary, growing economy. For most Americans, our home is our primary asset. Mortgage interest should remain deductible from the income tax.
We applaud Republican congressional efforts to pursue federal budget policies that will result in lower interest rates. Lower interest rates will open up more housing opportunities for more Americans than any program Washington could devise.
Republicans support regulatory reform efforts that make buying a house easy, understandable, and affordable.
We affirm our commitment to open housing, without quotas or controls, and we condemn the Clinton Administration's abuse of fair housing laws to harass citizens exercising their First Amendment rights.
In addition, we support transforming public housing into private housing, converting low-income families into proud homeowners. Resident management of public housing is a first step toward that goal, which includes eliminating the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD's core functions will be turned over to the States. Its civil rights component will be administered by the appropriate federal agency while enforcement will remain with the Department of Justice.
With the housing sector representing such a significant segment of the Nation's economy, housing policy is and should continue to be a priority. We believe in a federal role which supplements, not directs or competes with, States and localities. We believe in federal programs which augment, not displace, private sector capital and resources.
The Federal Government should not impose prescriptive solutions on State and local governments. Republicans believe that States and localities should have maximum flexibility to design programs which meet the individual needs of their communities. Washington must abandon the "one size fits all" approach and concentrate on adding value to the efforts of States, localities, private and faith-based organizations and individuals. Republicans believe we can and will accomplish this without disrupting services to the elderly, disabled and families with children.
Promoting Trade and International Prosperity
Republicans believe that the United States, as the sole superpower in the world today, has a responsibility to lead - economically, militarily, diplomatically, and morally - so that we have a peaceful and prosperous world.
Republicans support free and fair trade. In the American Century ahead, our country will lead in international trade. American workers will be the winners in any fair competition, and American technology will drive a prosperity revolution around the world. Exports already fuel our economy; their continuing expansion is essential for full employment and long-term prosperity. That is possible only within the context of expanding trade, and we can do it better without a Department of Commerce.
Our country's merchandise trade deficit exploded to $175 billion in 1995 and will likely set an all-time record in 1996, siphoning American wealth into the hands of foreigners. Trade deficits with all our major trading partners were worse in 1995 than in 1992. With China alone, the deficit more than doubled to $35 billion in the last three and a half years. With Japan, Bill Clinton announced a series of hollow agreements that have done little to improve market access. With Russia, he approved a $1 billion Export-Import Bank loan to foster competition with the American aircraft industry. With Canada, he tolerates discrimination against the United States beverage industry and focused on our lumber crisis too late to help closed logging mills. With Mexico, he ignored injury to American agriculture from massive surges in imports.
We should vigorously implement the North American Free Trade Agreement, while carefully monitoring its progress, to guarantee that its promised benefits and protections are realized by all American workers and consumers.
Republicans are for vigorous enforcement of the trade agreements we already have on the books, unlike the Clinton Administration that uses United States trade policy as a bargaining chip and as a vehicle for pursuing a host of other social agenda items. Republicans will enforce United States trade laws, including our antidumping laws, and will use the Super 301 investigations that give the President authority to challenge foreign barriers to our exports. And we will use the Export Enhancement Program to boost American farm exports. To advance economic freedom, we insist that United States foreign aid, whether bilateral or through the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, promote market reforms, limit regulation, and encourage free trade. Republicans will stop subsidizing socialism in the less developed nations. Republicans will not allow the World Trade Organization to undermine United States sovereignty and will support a World Trade Organization oversight commission.
Free market capitalism is the right model for economic development throughout the world. The Soviet model of a state-controlled economy has been discredited, and neither stage of development nor geographic location can justify economic authoritarianism. Human nature and aspirations are the same everywhere, and everywhere the family is the building block of economic and social progress. We therefore will protect the rights of families in international programs and will not fund organizations involved in abortion. The cost of turning our back on the global marketplace is the loss of opportunity and millions of jobs for United States citizens.
CHANGING WASHINGTON FROM THE GROUND UP A Citizens' Congress Cleaning Up Government Streamlining Government Honest Budgets and Real Numbers Regulatory Reform Restoring Justice to the Courts The Nation's Capital Americans in the Territories
"On November 8, 1994, the American people sent a message to Washington.... Their message is my mandate: To rein in government and reconnect it to the values of the American people. That means making government a whole lot smaller, a lot less arrogant, and getting it out of matters best left to the states, cities, and families across America." Bob Dole, March 10, 1995 in Washington, D. C.
We are the party of small, responsible and efficient government, joining our neighbors in cities and counties, rather than distant bureaucrats, to build a just society and caring communities. We therefore assert the power of the American people over government, rather than the other way around. Our agenda for change, profound and permanent change in the way government behaves, is based on the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution:
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
For more than half a century, that solemn compact has been scorned by liberal Democrats and the judicial activism of the judges they have appointed. We will restore the force of the Tenth Amendment and, in the process, renew the trust and respect which hold together a free society. As its first initiative enacted into law, the new Republican majority on Capitol Hill launched that effort early in 1995 by forbidding the imposition of new unfunded mandates upon State and local taxpayers. From now on, if official Washington promises benefits, official Washington must pay for them. We will apply that same principle to the ill-conceived Motor-Voter Act, the Democrats' costly invitation to ballot fraud.
To permanently restore balance in the federal system, States must have the proper tools to act as a counterforce to the Federal Government. Our country's founders attempted to carefully balance power between the two levels. The Tenth Amendment, as well as the ability of State legislatures to initiate constitutional amendments, and other constitutional tools given to States to protect their role in the system have now been either eroded away, given away, or rendered impossible to use. Thus, States lack the tools necessary to do their job as a counterbalance to the national government.
We call upon Congress, governors, State legislators and local leaders to adopt structural reforms that will permanently restore balance in our federal system. In this Information Era of uncertainty and rapid change, it is government close to home, controlled by neighborhood and community leaders, that can best respond to the needs and values of all citizens.
As a first step in reforming government, we support elimination of the Departments of Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Education, and Energy, and the elimination, defunding or privatization of agencies which are obsolete, redundant, of limited value, or too regional in focus. Examples of agencies we seek to defund or to privatize are the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and the Legal Services Corporation.
In addition, we support Republican-sponsored legislation that would require the original sponsor of proposed federal legislation to cite specific constitutional authority for the measure.
A Citizens' Congress
Even with these structural changes, a system of government is only as good as the women and men who serve within it. When the voters of 1994 elected Republican majorities in both the House and Senate for the first time in forty years, Capitol Hill had been an institution steeped in corruption and contemptuous of reform. Congressional Republicans changed things, from the ground up. They: applied all laws to Congress, so that those who make the rules will have to live by them; slashed congressional spending and cut back the staff on Capitol Hill; ordered an unprecedented audit of the House of Representatives, with devastating exposure of the Democrats' four decades of mismanagement; streamlined legislative procedures by reducing the number of committees and subcommittees; imposed term limits for House committee chairs and Leadership positions - something the Democrats still refuse to do; abolished proxy voting in House committees, ending the scandal of absentee Members casting phony votes; required any Representative charged indicted of a felony offense to relinquish positions of authority within Congress until cleared of wrongdoing; ended the Democrats' secret sessions by opening to the press and the public all committee meetings; brought to a vote, in both the House and Senate, a constitutional amendment to impose term limits on Members of Congress. It failed to secure the necessary two-thirds vote in the House, where 80 percent of Republicans voted for it and 80 percent of Democrats voted against it. Every Senate Republican voted to allow a vote on term limits, but the Democrats killed it by a filibuster. It will take expanded Republican majorities in the 105th Congress to send to the States a term limits constitutional amendment; and passed historic legislation banning gifts to Members of Congress and their staff.
We will continue our fight against gerrymandered congressional districts designed to thwart majority rule. We will eliminate made-in-Washington schemes to rig the election process under the guise of campaign reform. True reform is indeed needed: ending taxpayer subsidies for campaigns, strengthening party structures to guard against rogue operations, requiring full and immediate disclosure of all contributions, and cracking down on the indirect support, or "soft money," by which special interest groups underwrite their favored candidates.
Cleaning Up Government
In 1992, Bill Clinton promised "the most ethical Administration in the history of the Republic." Instead, the Clinton Administration has been rife with scandal. An unprecedented four Independent Counsels have been appointed since the Clinton Inauguration to investigate various allegations of wrongdoing by members of this Administration. The Clinton White House has abused executive power in both the White House Travel Office firings situation and in the FBI files matter. The FBI Director said there have been "egregious violations of privacy" in the gathering of FBI files of officials who worked in the White House under Republican administrations. We believe that misuse of law enforcement authorities for partisan political ends is no trivial matter. Such abuses strike at the heart of the relationship between citizen and government and undermine the rule of law and confidence in our leaders.
Scandals in government are not limited to possible criminal violations. The public trust is violated when taxpayers money is treated as a slush fund for special interest groups who oppose urgently needed reforms. For example, the Democrats have denied school vouchers for poor children in the nation's capital at the demand of special interest unions. They have blocked urgently needed legal reforms at the command of the trial lawyers, now the biggest source of revenue for the Democrat party. They have rejected reforms to improve the workplace to please union bosses who committed $35 million to aid the Clinton reelection effort.
It is time to restore honor and integrity to government. We propose to: revoke pension rights of public officials who have been convicted of crimes; strengthen citizen privacy laws and reform the FBI to guard against the politicization of law enforcement that we have seen by the Clinton White House; refuse to allow special interest groups to block innovative solutions for the poor or to block workplace or legal reforms that would help all working Americans; and recruit for public service, at all levels, men and women of integrity and high ethical standards.
We will end welfare for lobbyists. Every year, the federal government gives away billions of dollars in grants. Much of that money goes to interest groups which engage in political activity and issue advocacy at the taxpayers' expense. This is an intolerable abuse of the public's money. A Republican Congress will enact legislation, currently blocked by Bill Clinton's congressional allies, to make groups choose between grants and lobbying.
We will establish Truth in Testimony, requiring organizations which receive government funds and testify before Congress to disclose those funds. Our "Let America Know" legislation will force public disclosure of all taxpayer subsidies and lobbying by groups seeking grants. We will permit "private attorney general" lawsuits against federal grantees to ensure better enforcement of anti-lobbying restrictions. A Republican administration will impose accountability on grantees, to reveal what the public is getting for its money, and will end the process of automatic grant renewal. We will halt the funding of frivolous and politicized research grants.
Republicans believe we can streamline government and make it more effective through competition and privatization. We applaud the Republican Congress and Republican officials across the country for initiatives to expand the use of competition and privatization in government. It is greater competition - not unchallenged government bureaucracies - that will cut the cost of government, improve the delivery of services, and ensure wise investment in infrastructure. A Dole administration will make competition a centerpiece of government, eliminating duplication and increasing efficiency.
Honest Budgets and Real Numbers
We have a moral responsibility not to leave our children a legacy of monstrous debt. Spending $1.6 trillion a year should be more than an accounting exercise. Restraining government spending, discussed elsewhere in this platform, is part of the solution. Reforming the entire budget process is the rest of it.
Our goal is clarity, simplicity, and accountability in the nation's budget. The keystone of that agenda is the enactment of a constitutional amendment to require a balanced budget which a majority of congressional Democrats have vigorously opposed. We do not take that step lightly; but then, a $5 trillion debt is no laughing matter for tomorrow's taxpayers. We vow to offer that amendment again and again, until Congress sends it to the States for ratification.
In addition, we must eliminate all built-in biases toward spending. For example, the "current service baseline" builds in automatic budget increases for inflation and other factors and works like this: If the Democrats want a $1 billion program to grow to $2 billion, they then count an increase to $1.5 billion as a half-billion dollar cut - and the media dutifully reports it as such. This is a deceptive and reprehensible shell game that must be stopped.
A Republican president will fight wasteful spending with the line-item veto which was finally enacted by congressional Republicans this year over bitter Democrat opposition, 120 years after President Grant first proposed it.
Even more important, we will stop the runaway growth of entitlement spending - the programs which automatically grow without any action required by Congress or the President. This spending has jumped 11-fold since 1970 and consumes more than half the federal budget. We will take entitlements off automatic pilot and make Congress accountable for their funding. To end outdated and wasteful programs, we will make the Government Performance and Results Act an integral part of our budget process.
Regulatory reform is needed more than ever. Bill Clinton promised to "reinvent government," but he returned to the old mindset of controls and red tape. To make matters worse, he vetoed a comprehensive regulatory reform bill crafted by Republicans in the House and Senate. That measure will become law when Bob Dole is President.
We commend House Speaker Newt Gingrich and congressional Republicans in their innovative efforts to rescind, overturn and zero-out absurd bureaucratic red tape and rules through the process known as "Corrections Day."
A Republican administration will require periodic review of existing regulations to ensure they are effective and do away with obsolete and conflicting rules. We will encourage civil servants to find ways to reduce regulatory burdens on the public and will require federal agencies to disclose the costs of new regulations on individuals and small businesses. A new regulatory budget will reveal the total cost of regulations on the American people.
We will target resources on the most serious risks to health, safety, and the environment, rather than on politically inspired causes, and will require peer-reviewed risk assessments based on sound science. We will require agencies to conduct cost-benefit analyses of their regulations and pursue alternatives to the outdated Clinton command-and-control approach. These common-sense reforms will restore fairness and predictability to government rules and, even more important, will enable us to achieve equal or superior levels of protection for the public at lower cost.
Just as important, we recognize that all too often, in its ever-present zeal to expand into every aspect of our daily lives, the federal government intrudes into the private economy by establishing new services in direct competition with already existing private firms. We oppose the use of taxpayer funds to provide a competitive advantage for government agencies seeking to compete with private firms in the free market.
Restoring Justice to the Courts
"When I am president, only conservative judges need apply." Bob Dole, May 28, 1996, in Aurora, Colorado The American people have lost faith in their courts, and for good reason. Some members of the federal judiciary threaten the safety, the values, and the freedom of law-abiding citizens. They make up laws and invent new rights as they go along, arrogating to themselves powers King George III never dared to exercise. They free vicious criminals, pamper felons in prison, frivolously overturn State laws enacted by citizen referenda, and abdicate the responsibility of providing meaningful review of administrative decisions. The delicate balance of power between the respective branches of our national government and the governments of the 50 states has been eroded. The notion of judicial review has in some cases come to resemble judicial supremacy, affecting all segments of public and private endeavor. Make no mistake, the separation of powers doctrine, complete and unabridged, is the linchpin of a government of laws. A Republican Congress and president will restore true separation of powers and guarantee the American people a government of law. The federal judiciary, including the U. S. Supreme Court, has overstepped its authority under the Constitution. It has usurped the right of citizen legislators and popularly elected executives to make law by declaring duly enacted laws to be "unconstitutional" through the misapplication of the principle of judicial review. Any other role for the judiciary, especially when personal preferences masquerade as interpreting the law, is fundamentally at odds with our system of government in which the people and their representatives decide issues great and small. No systemic reform of the judiciary can substitute for the wise exercise of power of appointment vested in the president of the United States. A Republican president will ensure that a process is established to select for the federal judiciary nominees who understand that their task is first and foremost to be faithful to the Constitution and to the intent of those who framed it. In that process, the American Bar Association will no longer have the right to meddle in a way that distorts a nominee's credentials and advances the liberal agenda of litigious lawyers and their allies. Justice is mocked by some of today's litigation practices, which hinder our country's competitiveness, and drain billions of dollars away from productive Americans. While we fully support the role of the judiciary in vindicating the constitutional and statutory rights of individuals and organizations, we believe the proliferation of litigation hits the consumer with higher prices and cripples the practice of medicine. Despite bipartisan congressional efforts to enact legal reforms, Bill Clinton vetoed such legislation at the behest of his financial friends: the trial lawyers. A Republican president will sign that bill, and more. We encourage State governments to adopt reforms similar to those we propose to restore fairness to the federal system: strengthen judicial sanctions for lawsuits that are substantially without merit, thereby hitting unethical lawyers in their pocketbooks; apply the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations law (RICO) as originally intended, to criminal proceedings, not civil litigation; award punitive damages on a fair and reasonable basis after clear proof of wrongdoing, with limits that discourage opportunistic litigation. Since punitive damages are intended to punish egregious wrongdoing, a substantial portion of the amount awarded should go to a crime-victim compensation fund or similar program; restore limited liability to non-profit organizations - churches, civic and community groups, and the volunteers who sustain them - to provide protection against profit-seeking lawsuits and to encourage volunteerism; increase sanctions for abuses of the discovery process used to intimidate opponents and drive up the costs of litigation; reform medical malpractice to reduce health care costs and keep doctors practicing in critical areas like obstetrics; eliminate the use of "junk science" by opportunistic attorneys by requiring courts to verify that the science of those called as expert witnesses is reasonably acceptable within the scientific community, and forbid the practice of making their fees conditional upon a favorable verdict. This action will reduce the practice of so-called hired-gun "experts" who make up theories to fit the facts of the case in which they are testifying; eliminate joint and several liability in order to ensure that responsible parties pay their "fair share" in proportion to their degree of fault; and guard against non-meritorious lawsuits that are designed to have a chilling effect on First Amendment rights.
A federal products liability law goes hand in hand with legal reform. Its absence not only penalizes consumers with higher costs and keeps needed products off the market, but also gives foreign nations a competitive edge over American workers. Bill Clinton doesn't mind that. He vetoed Republican reforms that would have saved the public tens of billions of dollars.
Bill Clinton even vetoed the Securities Litigation Reform Act, a Republican initiative to protect shareholders against avaricious litigation. That obstructionism was too much for even the Democrats in Congress, many of whom joined in overriding his veto. A Republican president will work with Congress to restore justice to the nation's courts and fair play to the practice of law.
The Nation's Capital
The District of Columbia should be an example for the rest of the country. Instead, decades of domination by the Democrat party has left the city bankrupt and dangerous. Its residents - and all Americans - deserve better than that.
We reaffirm the constitutional status of the District of Columbia as the seat of government of the United States and reject calls for statehood for the District.
We call for structural reform of the city's government and its education system. For both efficiency and public safety, we will transfer water and sewer management in the District to the Army Corps of Engineers or to a regional entity.
We endorse proposals by the congressional Republican Leadership for dramatic reductions in federal taxes - and the city's own outrageous marginal tax rate - within the District. Bill Clinton opposes that idea. A Republican president will make it part of a comprehensive agenda to transform the nation's capital into a renewal community, an enterprise zone leading the way for the rest of urban America to follow.
Americans in 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. No single approach can meet the needs of those diverse communities. We therefore emphasize respect for their wishes regarding their relationship to the rest of the Union. We affirm their right to seek the full extension of the Constitution, with all the rights and responsibilities it entails.
We support the Native American Samoans' efforts to preserve their culture and land-tenure system, which fosters self-reliance and strong extended family values.
We recognize that the people of Guam have voted for a closer relationship with the United States of America, and we affirm our support of their right to mutually improve their political relationship through commonwealth.
We support 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 endorse initiatives of the congressional Republican leadership to provide for Puerto Rico's smooth transition to statehood if its citizens choose to alter their current status, or to set them on their own path to become an independent nation.
The 1996 Republican Platform
Adopted August 12, 1996
INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS AND PERSONAL SAFETY Upholding the Rights of All A Sensible Immigration Policy For Many, One Getting Tough on Crime Solving the Drug Crisis The Bottom Line: From the Top Down
"We are discovering as a nation that many of our deepest social problems are problems of character and belief. We will never solve those problems until the hearts of parents are turned toward their children; until respect is restored for life and property; until a commitment is renewed to love and serve our neighbor. The common good requires that goodness be common." Bob Dole, May 23, 1996 in Philadelphia
Upholding the Rights of All
This section of our platform deals with rights and responsibilities. But it deals also with something larger: the common good, our shared sense of what makes a society decent and noble. That takes us beyond government policies and programs to what we are as a people, and what we want to be.
We are the party of the open door. As we approach the start of a new century, the Republican Party is more dedicated than ever to strengthening the social, cultural, and political ties that bind us together as a free people, the greatest force for good the world has ever seen. While our party remains steadfast in its commitment to advancing its historic principles and ideals, we also recognize that members of our party have deeply held and sometimes differing views. We view this diversity of views as a source of strength, not as a sign of weakness, and we welcome into our ranks all Americans who may hold differing positions. We are committed to resolving our differences in a spirit of civility, hope, and mutual respect.
Americans do not want to be afraid of those they pass on the street, suspicious of strangers, fearful for their children. They do not want to have to fight a constant battle against brutality and degradation in what passes for entertainment. We oppose sexual harassment in the workplace, and must ensure that no one in America is forced to choose between a job and submitting to unwelcome advances. We also oppose indoctrination in the classroom. Americans should not have to tolerate the decline of ethical standards and the collapse of behavioral norms. Most important, they should not have to doubt the truthfulness of their elected leaders.
Reversing those trends won't be easy, but our homes and our children are worth the effort. Government has a small, but vital, role. But most of the burden must be ours: as parents, as consumers, as citizens whose right of free speech empowers us to stand up for the weak and vulnerable - and speak out against the profiteers of violence and moral decay.
That needs to be done, both in our house and in the White House. Bill Clinton can't - or won't - do it. So we will do it without him, and with new national leadership of character and conscience.
We are the party of individual Americans, whose rights we protect and defend as the foundation for opportunity and security for all. Today, as at our founding in the day of Lincoln, we insist no one's rights are negotiable.
As we strive to forge a national consensus on the divisive issues of our time, we call on all Republicans and all Americans to reject the forces of hatred and bigotry. Accordingly, we denounce all who practice or promote racism, anti-Semitism, ethnic prejudice, and religious intolerance. We condemn attempts by the EEOC or any other arm of government to regulate or ban religious symbols from the work place, and we assert the right of religious leaders to speak out on public issues. We condemn the desecration of places of worship and are proud that congressional Republicans led the fight against church arsons. We believe religious institutions and schools should not be taxed. When government funds privately operated social, welfare, or educational programs, it must not discriminate against religious institutions, whose record in providing services to those in need far exceeds that of the public sector.
The sole source of equal opportunity for all is equality before the law. Therefore, we oppose discrimination based on sex, race, age, creed, or national origin and will vigorously enforce anti-discrimination statutes. We reject the distortion of those laws to cover sexual preference, and we endorse the Defense of Marriage Act to prevent states from being forced to recognize same-sex unions. Because we believe rights inhere in individuals, not in groups, we will attain our nation's goal of equal rights without quotas or other forms of preferential treatment. We scorn Bill Clinton's notion that any person should be denied a job, promotion, contract or a chance at higher education because of their race or gender. Instead, we endorse the Dole-Canady Equal Opportunity Act to end discrimination by the federal government. We likewise endorse this year's Proposition 209, the California Civil Rights Initiative, to restore to law the original meaning of civil rights.
We renew our historic Republican commitment to equal opportunity for women. In the early days of the suffragist movement, we pioneered the women's right to vote. We take pride in this year's remarkable array of Republican women serving in and running for office and their role in leadership positions in our party, in Congress, and in the states. Two women serve in our House Leadership - a record untouched by the Democrats during their 40 years in power. The full exercise of legal rights depends upon opportunity, and economic growth is the key to continuing progress for women in all fields of endeavor. Public policy must respect and accommodate women whether they are full-time homemakers or pursue a career.
Under Senator Dole's sponsorship, the Americans with Disabilities Act was enacted to ensure full participation by disabled citizens in our country's life. Republicans emphasize community integration and inclusion of persons with disabilities, both by personal example and by practical enforcement of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the Air Carriers Access Act, and other laws. We will safeguard the interests of disabled persons in Medicare and Medicaid, as well as in federal work force programs. Under a Republican renewal, the abilities of all will be needed in an expanding economy, which alone can carry forward the assistive technology that offers personal progress for everyone. We support full access to the polls, and the entire political process, by disabled citizens. We oppose the non-consensual withholding of health care or treatment because of handicap, age, or infirmity, just as we oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide, which, especially for the poor and those on the margins of society, threaten the sanctity of human life.
The unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and we endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment's protections apply to unborn children. Our purpose is to have legislative and judicial protection of that right against those who perform abortions. We oppose using public revenues for abortion and will not fund organizations which advocate it. We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life.
Our goal is to ensure that women with problem pregnancies have the kind of support, material and otherwise, they need for themselves and for their babies, not to be punitive towards those for whose difficult situation we have only compassion. We oppose abortion, but our pro-life agenda does not include punitive action against women who have an abortion. We salute those who provide alternatives to abortion and offer adoption services. Republicans in Congress took the lead in expanding assistance both for the costs of adoption and for the continuing care of adoptive children with special needs. Bill Clinton vetoed our adoption tax credit the first time around - and opposed our efforts to remove racial barriers to adoption - before joining in this long overdue measure of support for adoptive families.
Worse than that, he vetoed the ban on partial-birth abortions, a procedure denounced by a committee of the American Medical Association and rightly branded as four-fifths infanticide. We applaud Bob Dole's commitment to revoke the Clinton executive orders concerning abortion and to sign into law an end to partial-birth abortions.
We reaffirm the promise of the Fifth Amendment: "nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation." This Takings Clause protects the homes and livelihood of Americans against the governmental greed and abuse of power that characterizes the Clinton Administration; we will strictly enforce it.
We defend the constitutional right to keep and bear arms. We will promote training in the safe usage of firearms, especially in programs for women and the elderly. We strongly support Bob Dole's National Instant Check Initiative, which will help keep all guns out of the hands of convicted felons. The point-of-purchase instant check has worked well in many states and now it is time to extend this system all across America. We applaud Bob Dole's commitment to have the national instant check system operational by the end of 1997. In one of the strangest actions of his tenure, Bill Clinton abolished Operation Triggerlock, the Republican initiative to jail any felon caught with a gun. We will restore that effort and will set by law minimum mandatory penalties for the use of guns in committing a crime: 5 years for possession, 10 years for brandishing, and 20 for discharge.
We affirm the right of individuals to participate in labor organizations and to bargain collectively, consistent with State laws. Because that participation should always be voluntary. we support the right of States to enact Right-to-Work laws. We will restore the original scope of the Hobbs Act, barring union officials from extortion and violence. We will vigorously implement the Supreme Court's Beck decision to ensure that workers are not compelled to subsidize political activity, like the $35 million slush fund extorted this year from rank and file members by Washington-based labor leaders. We will reverse Bill Clinton's unconscionable Executive Order that deprived workers of their right to know how their union dues are spent.
A Sensible Immigration Policy
As a nation of immigrants, we welcome those who follow our laws and come to our land to seek a better life. New Americans strengthen our economy, enrich our culture, and defend the nation in war and in peace. At the same time, we are determined to reform the system by which we welcome them to the American family. We must set immigration at manageable levels, balance the competing goals of uniting families of our citizens and admitting specially talented persons, and end asylum abuses through expedited exclusion of false claimants.
Bill Clinton's immigration record does not match his rhetoric. While talking tough on illegal immigration, he has proposed a reduction in the number of border patrol agents authorized by the Republicans in Congress, has opposed the most successful border control program in decades (Operation Hold the Line in Texas), has opposed Proposition 187 in California which 60 percent of Californians supported, and has opposed Republican efforts to ensure that non-citizens do not take advantage of expensive welfare programs. Unlike Bill Clinton, we stand with the American people on immigration policy and will continue to reform and enforce our immigration laws to ensure that they reflect America's national interest.
We also support efforts to secure our borders from the threat of illegal immigration. Illegal immigration has reached crisis proportions, with more than four million illegal aliens now present in the United States. That number, growing by 300,000 each year, burdens taxpayers, strains public services, takes jobs, and increases crime. Republicans in both the House and Senate have passed bills that tighten border enforcement, speed up deportation of criminal aliens, toughen penalties for overstaying visas, and streamline the Immigration and Naturalization Service.
Illegal aliens should not receive public benefits other than emergency aid, and those who become parents while illegally in the United States should not be qualified to claim benefits for their offspring. Legal immigrants should depend for assistance on their sponsors, who are legally responsible for their financial well-being, not the American taxpayers. Just as we require "deadbeat dads" to provide for the children they bring into the world, we should require "deadbeat sponsors" to provide for the immigrants they bring into the country. We support a constitutional amendment or constitutionally-valid legislation declaring that children born in the United States of parents who are not legally present in the United States or who are not long-term residents are not automatically citizens.
We endorse the Dole/Coverdell proposal to make crimes of domestic violence, stalking, child abuse, child neglect and child abandonment committed by aliens residing in this country deportable offenses under our immigration laws.
We call for harsh penalties against exploiters who smuggle illegal aliens and for those who profit from the production of false documents. Republicans believe that by eliminating the magnet for illegal immigration, increasing border security, enforcing our immigration laws, and producing counterfeit-proof documents, we will finally put an end to the illegal immigration crisis. We oppose the creation of any national ID card.
From Many, One
America's ethnic diversity within a shared national culture is one of our country's greatest strengths. While we benefit from our differences, we must also strengthen the ties that bind us to one another. Foremost among those is the flag. Its deliberate desecration is not "free speech," but an assault against our history and our hopes. We support a constitutional amendment that will restore to the people, through their elected representatives, their right to safeguard Old Glory. We condemn Bill Clinton's refusal, once again, to protect and preserve the most precious symbol of our Republic.
English, our common language, provides a shared foundation which has allowed people from every corner of the world to come together to build the American nation. The use of English is indispensable to all who wish to participate fully in our society and realize the American dream. As Bob Dole has said: "For more than two centuries now, English has been a force for unity, indispensable to the process of transforming untold millions of immigrants from all parts of the globe into citizens of the most open and free society the world has ever seen." For newcomers, learning the English language has always been the fastest route to the mainstream of American life. That should be the goal of bilingual education programs. We support the official recognition of English as the nation's common language. We advocate foreign language training in our schools and retention of heritage languages in homes and cultural institutions. Foreign language fluency is also an essential component of America's competitiveness in the world market.
We will strengthen Native Americans' self-determination by respecting tribal sovereignty, encouraging a pro-business and pro-development climate on reservations. We uphold the unique government-to-government relationship between the tribes and the United States, and we honor our nation's trust obligations to them. In fulfillment thereof, we will ensure that the resources, financial and otherwise, which the United States holds in trust are well-managed, audited, and protected. We second Bob Dole's call for legislation authorizing tribal governments to reorganize the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Indian Health Service. We endorse efforts to ensure equitable participation in federal programs by Native Americans, Native Alaskans and Native Hawaiians and to preserve their culture and languages.
Getting Tough on Crime
"Women in America know better than anyone about the randomness and ruthlessness of crime. It is a shameful, national disgrace that nightfall has become synonymous with fear for so many of America's women." Bob Dole, May 28, 1996 in Aurora, Colorado During Bill Clinton's tenure, America has become a more fearful place, especially for the elderly and for women and children. Violent crime has turned our homes into prisons, our streets and schoolyards into battlegrounds. It devours half a trillion dollars every year. Unfortunately, far worse could be coming in the near future. While we acknowledge the extraordinary efforts of single parents, we recognize that a generation of fatherless boys raises the prospect of soaring juvenile crime. This is, in part the legacy of liberalism - in the old Democrat Congress, in the Clinton Department of Justice, and in the courts, where judges appointed by Democrat presidents continue their assault against the rights of law-abiding Americans. For too long government policy has been controlled by criminals and their defense lawyers. Democrat Congresses cared more about rights of criminals than safety for Americans. Bill Clinton arbitrarily closed off Pennsylvania Avenue, the nation's Main Street, for his protection, while his policies left the public unprotected against vicious criminals. As a symbol of our determination to restore the rule of law - in the White House as well as in our streets - we will reopen Pennsylvania Avenue. After the elections of 1994, the new Republican majorities in the House and Senate fought back with legislation that ends frivolous, costly, and unnecessarily lengthy death-row appeals, requires criminals to pay restitution to their victims, speeds the removal of criminal aliens, and steps up the fight against terrorism. Congressional Republicans put into law a truth-in-sentencing prison grant program to provide incentives to states which enact laws requiring violent felons to serve at least 85% of their sentences and replaced a myriad of Democrat "Washington knows best" prevention programs with bloc grants to cities and counties to use to fight crime as they see fit. They put an end to federal court early-release orders for prison overcrowding and made it much harder for prisoners to file frivolous lawsuits about prison conditions. There's more to do, once Bill Clinton's veto threats no longer block the way. We will establish no-frills prisons where prisoners are required to work productively and make the threat of jail a real deterrent to crime. Prisons should not be places of rest and relaxation. We will reform the Supreme Court's fanciful exclusionary rule, which has allowed a generation of criminals to get off on technicalities. Juvenile crime is one of the most difficult challenges facing our nation. The juvenile justice system is broken. It fails to punish the minor crimes that lead to larger offenses, and lacks early intervention to keep delinquency from turning into violent crime. Truancy laws are not enforced, positive role models are lacking, and parental responsibility is overlooked. We will stress accountability at every step in the system and require adult trials for juveniles who commit adult crimes. In addition, not only is juvenile crime on the rise, but unsupervised juveniles (especially at night) are most often the victims of abuse in our society. Recognizing that local jurisdictions have a clear and concise understanding of their problems, we encourage them to develop and enact innovative programs to address juvenile crime. We also encourage them to consider juvenile nocturnal curfews as an effective law enforcement tool in helping reduce juvenile crime and juvenile victimization. Juvenile criminal proceedings should be open to victims and the public. Juvenile conviction records should not be sealed but made available to law enforcement agencies, the courts, and those who hire for sensitive work in schools and day-care centers. Because liberal jurists keep expanding the rights of the accused, Republicans propose a Constitutional amendment to protect victims' rights: audio and visual testimony of victims kept on file for future hearings, full restitution, protection from intimidation or violence by the offender, notification of court proceedings, a chance to be heard in plea bargains, the right to remain in court during trials and hearings concerning the crimes committed against them, a voice in the sentencing proceedings, notice of the release or escape of offenders. Bill Clinton hypocritically endorsed our Victim's Rights Amendment while naming judges who opposed capital punishment, turned felons loose, and even excused murder as a form of social protest. Bob Dole, the next Republican president will end that nonsense and make our courts once again an instrument of justice. While the federal government's role is essential, most law enforcement must remain in the hands of local communities, directed by State and local officials who are closely answerable to the people whose lives are affected by crime. In that regard, we support community policing; nothing inhibits local crime like an officer in the neighborhood. Bill Clinton promised 100,000 more police officers on the beat but, according to his own Attorney General, delivered no more than 17,000. He ignored local law enforcers by tying the program in knots of red tape and high costs. Now he is diverting millions of its dollars, appropriated by congressional Republicans to fight street crime, to state parks and environmental projects. It's time to return those anti-crime resources to communities and let them decide what works best to keep their homes, schools, and workplaces safe. This would result in far more new police officers than Bill Clinton's program and give communities additional crime fighting resources they need. We will work with local authorities to prevent prison inmates from receiving disability or other government entitlements while incarcerated. We support efforts to allow peace officers, including qualified retirees, to assist their colleagues and protect their communities even when they are out of their home jurisdictions to the extent this is consistent with applicable state and local law. We will amend the Fair Labor Standards Act so that corrections officers can volunteer to assist local law enforcement. Crimes against women and children demand an emphatic response. Under Bob Dole and Dick Zimmer's leadership, Republicans in Congress pushed through Megan's Law - the requirement that local communities be notified when sex offenders and kidnappers are released - in response to the growing number of violent sexual assaults and murders like the brutal murder of a little girl in New Jersey. We call for special penalties against thugs who assault or batter pregnant women and harm them or their unborn children. We endorse Bob Dole's call to bring federal penalties for child pornography in line with far tougher State penalties: ten years for a first offense, fifteen for the second, and life for a third. We believe it is time to revisit the Supreme Court's arbitrary decision of 1977 that protects even the most vicious rapists from the death penalty. Bob Dole authored a tough federal statute which provides for the admissibility of prior similar criminal acts of defendants in sexual assault cases. This important law enforcement tool should serve as a model for the states. We continue our strong support of capital punishment for those who commit heinous federal crimes; including the kingpins of the narcotics trade. We wish to express our support and sympathy for all victims of terrorism and their families. Acts of terrorism against Americans and American interests must be stopped and those who commit them must be brought to justice. We recommend a Presidentially appointed "blue ribbon" commission to study more effective methods of prosecuting terrorists. Only Republican resolve can prepare our nation to deal with the four deadly threats facing us in the early years of the 21st Century: violent crime, drugs, terrorism, and international organized crime. Those perils are interlocked - and all are escalating. This is no time for excuses. It's time for a change.
Solving the Drug Crisis
The verdict is in on Bill Clinton's moral leadership: after 11 years of steady decline, the use of marijuana among teens doubled in the two years after 1992. At the same time, the use of cocaine and methamphetamines dramatically increased.
That shocks but should not surprise. For in the war on drugs - an essential component of the fight against crime - today's Democratic Party has been a conscientious objector. Nowhere is the discrepancy between Bill Clinton's rhetoric and his actions more apparent. Mr. Clinton's personal record has been a betrayal of the nation's trust, sending the worst possible signal to the nation's youth. At the urging of the Secret Service, the White House had to institute a drug-testing program for Clinton staffers who were known to be recent users of illegal narcotics. At the same time, he drastically cut funding for drug interdiction. The Office of National Drug Control Policy was cut by 80 percent, and federal drug prosecutions dropped 25 percent. His Attorney General proposed to reduce mandatory minimum sentences for drug trafficking and related crimes, and his Surgeon General advocated legalization of narcotics. Hundreds of suspected drug smugglers have been allowed to go free at the border. Simultaneously, the use of marijuana, cocaine, and heroin has increased, especially among young people. Now narcotics are again fueling the acceleration of crime rates, putting the nation on a collision course with the future.
Bill Clinton's weakness in international affairs has worsened the situation here at home. One case in point: He certified that Mexico has cooperated with our drug interdiction effort when 70 percent of drugs smuggled into the U. S. come across our southern border - and when the Mexican government ignored 165 extradition orders for drug criminals. Discredited at home and abroad, he lacks both the stature and the credibility to lead us toward a drug-free America.
A war against drugs requires moral leadership now lacking in the White House. Throughout the 1980s, the Republican approach - no legalization, no tolerance, no excuses - turned the tide against drug abuse. We can do it again by emphasizing prevention, interdiction, a tough international approach, and a crack-down on users. That requires reversing one of Bill Clinton's most offensive actions: his shocking purge of every U. S. Attorney in the country shortly after he took office. This unprecedented firing destroyed our first line of defense against drug traffickers and other career criminals. Our country's most experienced and dedicated prosecutors were replaced with Clintonite liberals, some of whom have refused to prosecute major drug dealers, foreign narcotics smugglers, and child pornographers.
In a Dole Administration, U. S. Attorneys will prosecute and jail those who prey upon the innocent. We support upgrading our interdiction effort by establishing a Deputy Commissioner for Drug Enforcement within the Customs Service. We will intensify our intelligence efforts against international drug traffickers and use whatever means necessary to destroy their operations and seize their personal accounts.
We support strong penalties, including mandatory minimum sentences, for drug trafficking, distribution and drug-related crimes. Drug use is closely related to crime and recidivism. Drug testing should be made a routine feature of the criminal justice process at every stage, including the juvenile justice system. Test results should be used in deciding pretrial release, sentencing, and probation revocation.
A safer America must include highways without drunk or drug-impaired drivers. We support the toughest possible State laws to deal with drivers impaired by substance abuse and advocate federal cooperation, not compulsion, toward that end.
The Bottom Line: From The Top Down
Making America safe again will be a tremendous undertaking, in its own way as heroic as was the liberation of Europe from a different kind of criminal half a century ago. At the grassroots, that crusade already has enlisted the men and women of local law enforcement. Now they need a leader worthy of their cause - someone whose life reflects respect for the law, not evasion of it. Bill Clinton need not apply.
Bob Dole will be a president committed to the protection and safety of all Americans. However, his strength is diminished without a court system supportive of the national fight against violent crime. That is the bottom line of this year's presidential election: Who should chart the course of law enforcement for the next generation by naming as many as an additional 30 percent of our federal judges and the next several justices to the U. S. Supreme Court? Bill Clinton, the master of excuse and evasion? Or Bob Dole, whose life has been an exercise in honor and duty?
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