Lott outlines Senate agenda
By Major Garrett/CNN
February 1, 2000
Web posted at: 12:14 p.m. EST (1714 GMT)
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Trade issues, health care, tax cuts, transportation and juvenile justice reform will
top the Senate's agenda this year, Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss, said Tuesday.
Lott said he would ask Clinton during Tuesday's meeting with the
bipartisan congressional leadership, "How much capital are you willing to
spend?" to encourage Democrats to back free trade with China.
He also said China "must be careful" not inflame congressional opposition
through transfers of military technology to so-called rogue nations.
Lott said he was optimistic Congress would approve China's move into the
WTO. He said proponents had to "be realistic" and understand that lack of
support by Clinton or controversial conduct by China could doom the
More broadly, Lott said trade issues, including pending legislation to
reduce trade barriers with Africa and Caribbean basin nations, will top his
Lott also said he wants the Senate to pass the pending juvenile justice
bill, which he said was not just a gun bill but one that changes federal
juvenile justice programs.
He offered no opinion about how to resolve the gun control dispute --
dealing with the waiting period on firearms sales at gun shows -- that has
stymied the bill for months.
On health care, Lott said Republicans will support providing prescription
drug benefits for poor Americans, but will resist moves to provide them for
He also said Republicans will give patients the right to sue HMOs in
"egregious cases" of wrongdoing. Republicans will not support a bill that
becomes a "lawyers' bill of rights," he said.
He said Republicans will move tax cuts such as reducing the so-called marriage penalty
on income taxes, providing tax credits for elementary and secondary education, and
enhancing access to health care.
Also, Lott said he will try again to resolve an internal Republican
dispute over how to spend funds for airport construction and FAA improvements.
He said he hoped to move the multi-billion-dollar bill within two months.
Lott did not mention increasing the minimum wage in his list of
priorities. Clinton and congressional Democrats have placed it near the top of
their list. He also said Republicans will have to wait for a Republican president and
Republican Congress to achieve most of their legislative goals.