This is the Republican Party’s official Platform for the 1996 elections.
President Bill Clinton, a Democrat, defeated former Senator Bob Dole in the presidential election.
Republican Party Platform – 1996.
1996 Republican Party Platform
Principles of the 1996 Republican National Platform
Building a Better America
Improving the Standard of Living
Tax Relief for Economic Growth
Balancing the Budget and Reducing Spending
Creating Jobs for Americans
Science, Technology, and Innovation in the 21st Century
Promoting Trade and International Prosperity
Changing Washington From Ground Up
A Citizens’ Congress
Cleaning Up Government
Honest Budgets and Real Numbers
Restoring Justice to the Courts
The Nation’s Capital
Americans in the Territories
Individual Rights and Personal Safety
Upholding the Rights of All
A Sensible Immigration Policy
From Many, One
Getting Tough on Crime
Solving the Drug Crisis
The Bottom Line: From The Top Down
Families and Society
Improving America’s Health Care
Renewing Hope and Opportunity
A Cleaner, Safer, Healthier America
Securing Property Rights
Improving Public Lands
Power for Progress
Agriculture in the 21st Century
Restoring American World Leadership
The Atlantic Alliance and Europe
Defending America Against Missile Attack
Rebuilding America’s Strength
Protecting American Interests
The Middle East
Security and Foreign Assistance
Protecting America’s Technological Edge
The Men and Women of Defense
The Goal is Freedom
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.
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
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. 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.
12. 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.
13. 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
14. 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.
“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
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.
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.
“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
• 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
• 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.
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
• 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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
“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 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.
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.
“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
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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?
“The alternative to cold bureaucracy is not indifference. It is the warmth of families and neighborhoods, charities, churches, synagogues and communities. These value-shaping institutions have the tools to reclaim lives – individual responsibility, tough love, and spiritual renewal. They do more than care for the body; they restore the spirit.”
— Bob Dole, May 23, 1996, in Philadelphia
We are the party of the American family, educating children, caring for the sick, learning from the elderly, and helping the less fortunate. We believe that strengthening family life is the best way to improve the quality of life for everyone.
Families foster the virtues that make a free society strong. We rely on the home and its supportive institutions to instill honesty, self-discipline, mutual respect and the other virtues that sustain democracy. Our goal is to promote those values by respecting the rights of families and by assisting, where appropriate, the institutions which mediate between government and the home. While recognizing a role for government in dealing with social ills, we look to mediating institutions – religious and community groups, private associations of all kinds – to take the lead in tackling the social ills that some government programs have only worsened.
This is the clearest distinction between Republicans and Clinton Democrats: We believe the family is the core institution of our society. Bill Clinton thinks government should hold that place. It’s little wonder, then, that today’s families feel under siege. They seem to work harder with less reward for their labor. They can no longer expect that life will be better for their children than it was for them.
Their problem starts in the White House. Bill Clinton has hit families with higher taxes, vetoed their tax relief, and given their money to special interest groups. He has meddled in their schools, fought family choice in education, and promoted lifestyles inimical to their values. He repeatedly vetoed pro-family welfare reforms before surrendering to the demands of the American people. He tried to impose a ruinous government takeover of health care; led a scare campaign against Republican efforts to preserve, protect, and strengthen Medicare; and appointed to major positions in his administration social theorists whose bizarre views are alien to those of most Americans.
Republicans want to get our society back on track – toward good schools with great teachers, welfare that really helps, and health care responsive to the needs of people, not government. We want to make sure our most important programs – like Social Security and Medicare – are there when people need them. In all those cases, we start with the family as the building block of a safe and caring society.
Our agenda for more secure families runs throughout this platform. Here we take special notice of the way congressional Republicans have advanced adoption assistance, promoted foster care reform, and fought the marriage penalty in the tax code. They have worked to let parents have flex-time and comp-time in private industry, and have safeguarded family choice in child care against the Democrats’ attempts to control it. They passed the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines “marriage” for purposes of federal law as the legal union of one man and one woman and prevents federal judges and bureaucrats from forcing states to recognize other living arrangements as “marriages.” Further, they have advanced the Family Rights and Privacy Act – a bill of rights against the intrusions of big government and its grantees.
In the House and Senate, Republicans have championed the economic rights of the family and made a $500 per child tax credit the centerpiece of their reform agenda. But that overdue measure of relief for households with children was vetoed.
We salute parents working at the State level to ensure constitutional protection for the rights of the family.
We urge State legislators to review divorce laws to foster the stability of the home and protect the economic rights of the innocent spouse and children.
“At the center of all that afflicts our schools is a denial of free choice. Our public schools are in trouble because they are no longer run by the public. Instead, they’re controlled by narrow special interest groups who regard public education not as a public trust, but as political territory to be guarded at all costs.”
— Bob Dole, July 17, 1996, in Minneapolis
The American people know that something is terribly wrong with our education system. The evidence is everywhere: children who cannot read, graduates who cannot reason, danger in schoolyards, indoctrination in classrooms.
To this crisis in our schools, Bill Clinton responds with the same liberal dogmas that created the mess: more federal control and more spending on all the wrong things. He opposes family rights in education and opportunity scholarships for poor children. When it comes to saving our schools, he flunks.
Americans should have the best education in the world. We spend more per pupil than any other nation, and the great majority of our teachers are dedicated and skilled educators, whose interests are ignored by political union bosses. Our goal is nothing less than a renaissance in American education, begun by returning its control to parents, teachers, local school boards and, through them, to communities and local taxpayers.
Our formula is as simple as it is sweeping: the federal government has no constitutional authority to be involved in school curricula or to control jobs in the work place. That is why we will abolish the Department of Education, end federal meddling in our schools, and promote family choice at all levels of learning. We therefore call for prompt repeal of the Goals 2000 program and the School-To-Work Act of 1994, which put new federal controls, as well as unfunded mandates, on the States. We further urge that federal attempts to impose outcome- or performance-based education on local schools be ended.
We know what works in education, and it isn’t the liberal fads of the last thirty years. It’s discipline, parental involvement, emphasis on basics including computer technology, phonics instead of look-say reading, and dedicated teaching.
Abstinence education in the home will lead to less need for birth control services and fewer abortions. We support educational initiatives to promote chastity until marriage as the expected standard of behavior. This education initiative is the best preventive measure to avoid the emotional trauma of sexually-transmitted diseases and teen pregnancies that are serious problems among our young people. While recognizing that something must be done to help children when parental consent or supervision is not possible, we oppose school-based clinics, which provide referrals, counseling, and related services for contraception and abortion.
We encourage a reform agenda on the local level and urge State legislators to ensure quality education for all through programs of parental choice among public, private, and religious schools. That includes the option of home schooling, and Republicans will defend the right of families to make that choice. We support and vigorously work for mechanisms, such as opportunity scholarships, block grants, school rebates, charter schools, and vouchers, to make parental choice in education a reality for all parents.
On the federal level, we endorse legislation – like the Watts-Talent Low-Income Educational Opportunity Act, which is part of the Community Renewal Act of 1996, and the Coats-Kasich Educational Choice and Equity Act – to set up model programs for empowering the families who need good schooling the most.
We will continue to work for the return of voluntary prayer to our schools and will strongly enforce the Republican legislation that guarantees equal access to school facilities by student religious groups. We encourage State legislatures to pass statutes which prohibit local school boards from adopting policies of denial regarding voluntary school prayer.
We endorse Bob Dole’s pledge that all federal education policies will be guided by his Education Consumer’s Warranty. The Education Consumer’s Warranty says that all American children should expect to:
• attend a safe school;
• be free from educational malpractice at the hands of bad schools, incompetent teachers, timid principals, and intrusive bureaucrats;
• find out exactly how well they and their school are doing (in terms of achievement) in relation to how well they ought to be doing;
• learn the three R’s through proven methods;
• learn the nation’s history and democratic values and study the classics of western civilization;
• attend a school that is free to innovate and isn’t tied down by federal red tape;
• be confident that their high school diploma signifies a solid education, suitable for college or a good job;
• choose the school that’s right for them;
• know that their tax dollars are reaching the classroom, not being siphoned off into overhead and bureaucracy; and,
• count on being able to arrive at college prepared to do freshman-level work.
To reinforce our American heritage, we believe our nation’s Governors, State legislators, and local school boards should support requiring our public schools to dedicate one full day each year solely to studying the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
America’s families find themselves on a college treadmill: the more they work to pay tuition, the faster it seems to increase. Tuition has escalated far in excess of inflation, in defiance of market factors, and shows no sign of slowing down. Billions of dollars are wasted on regulations, paperwork, and “political correctness,” which impedes the ability of the faculty to teach. We call for a national reassessment of the economics of higher education, to stop the treadmill and restore fiscal accountability to higher education. Congressional Republicans budgeted a 50 percent increase in student loans while fighting Bill Clinton’s intrusion of Big Government into their financing. Heeding the outcry from the nation’s campuses, we will end the Clinton Administration’s perverse direct lending program. We support proposals to assist families to prepare for the financial strains of higher education, like the American Dream Savings Account, passed by congressional Republicans but vetoed.
To protect the nation’s colleges and universities against intolerance, we will work with independent educators to create alternatives to ideological accrediting bodies. We believe meeting the higher education needs of America will require new, public and private institutions that are flexible, able to apply new technologies, willing to provide access to all those who need it, cost-effective and that place no burden on the American taxpayer.
Our goal is to maintain the quality of America’s health care – the best in the world, bar none – while making health care and health insurance more accessible and more affordable. That means allowing health care providers to respond to consumer demand through consumer choice.
That approach stands in stark contrast to Bill Clinton’s health plan of 1993. “Clintoncare” would have been a poison pill for the nation’s health care system. Congressional Republicans countered with the right prescription:
• make insurance portable from job to job;
• ensure that persons are not denied coverage because of preexisting health conditions when changing employment;
• crack down on Medicare and Medicaid fraud, while preserving the confidentiality of medical records from inappropriate scrutiny and without imposing criminal penalties for clerical errors and billing mistakes;
• reform malpractice laws, to reduce the costly practice of “defensive medicine” and to make it easier for doctors to specialize in fields like obstetrics. We also recognize the vital importance of maintaining the confidentiality of the national practitioners data base;
• let individuals set up tax-free Medical Savings Accounts (MSAs), so they can plan for their own medical needs instead of relying on government or insurance companies.
• Republicans believe that Medicare and Medicaid recipients should also have the option to utilize Medical Savings Accounts, which would result in huge savings for the American taxpayers;
• overhaul the Food and Drug Administration to get better products on the market faster and at less cost to consumers;
• change IRS rules that restrict coverage: let employer groups offer tax-exempt policies and make premiums 100% deductible for farmers, small businesses, and all the self-employed;
• promote a private market for long-term care insurance;
• reduce paperwork through electronic billing;
• change anti-trust laws to let health care providers cooperate in holding down charges;
• avoid mandatory coverages that make consumers pay for more insurance than they need;
• allow multi-employer purchasing groups and form “risk pools” in the States to make employee health insurance more affordable;
• remove regulatory barriers to the use of managed care for those who choose it. Traditionally, all Americans have had the freedom to choose their health care plans, as well as the providers who treat them. To ensure quality of care, it is imperative that patients continue to enjoy the freedoms to which they have become accustomed. Communications between providers and patients should be free and open, and allow for full discussion of the patient’s medical care. Financial arrangements should not be a barrier to a patient’s receiving quality medical care;
• permit families with incomes up to twice the poverty level to buy into Medicaid;
• promote rural health care through telecommuni-cations and emergency air transport; and
• increase funding for Community and Migrant Health Centers.
• Bill Clinton and most congressional Democrats opposed many of these reforms, especially Medical Savings
Accounts and changes in malpractice laws. Congressional Republicans rallied the nation to win a long overdue victory for consumers and for commonsense. Three months away from the November elections, Bill Clinton caved in and promised to sign into law the Republican solution to America’s health care problems.
But the Clinton Democrats are still blocking Republican efforts to preserve, protect, and strengthen Medicare. Until Medicare is financially secure again, our job is not finished. More than 38 million people depend on Medicare, which is rushing toward bankruptcy even more quickly than predicted. Bill Clinton doesn’t seem to mind. Despite repeated Republican efforts to work with his administration to save Medicare, his response has been a barrage of propaganda. We proposed Medisave; he indulged in Mediscare. We say this with solemn deliberation: Bill Clinton lied about the condition of Medicare and lied about our attempts to save it.
We reaffirm our determination to protect Medicare. We will ensure a significant annual expansion in Medicare. That isn’t “cutting Medicare.” It’s a projected average annual rate of growth of 7.1 percent a year – more than twice the rate of inflation – to ensure coverage for those who need it now and those who will need it in the future. We propose to allow unprecedented patient choice in Medicare, so that older Americans can select health care arrangements that work best for them, including provider-sponsored organizations offering quality care with strong consumer protections.
Our commitment is to protect the most vulnerable of our people: children, the elderly, the disabled. That is why we are determined to restructure Medicaid, the federal-State program of health care for the poor. Rife with fraud, poorly administered, with no incentives for patient or provider savings, Medicaid has mushroomed into the nation’s biggest welfare program. Its staggering rate of growth threatens to overwhelm State budgets, while thwarting congressional progress towards a federal balanced budget. Bill Clinton’s response has been to ignore the problem – and attack Republicans for trying to solve it.
We must find better ways to ensure quality health care for the poor. Medicaid should be turned over to State management with leeway for restructuring and reform. Low-income persons should have access to managed care programs and Medical Savings Accounts, just as other persons do, and State officials should have authority to weed out substandard providers and to eliminate excess costs. We endorse Republican legislation extending federal tort claim coverage to health care professionals who provide free medical services to persons who cannot afford them.
Preventive care is key to both wellness and lower medical bills, and strong families are the most powerful form of preventive care. Responsible families mean less child abuse, lower infant mortality, fewer unvaccinated youngsters, fewer teen pregnancies, and less involvement with drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. To help low-income families toward those goals, we will unify scattered federal resources into block grants.
We reaffirm our traditional support for generous funding of medical research, especially through the National Institutes of Health, and for continuing federal support for teaching hospitals and medical schools. We remain committed to, and place a high priority on, finding a cure for HIV disease. We support increased funding for research targeted at conditions that touch the families of most Americans, like Alzheimer’s, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and diabetes. We call for an increased emphasis on prevention of diseases that threaten the lives of women. This requires dramatic expansion of outreach and education to expand public awareness. We call for fetal protection in biomedical research and will enforce the rights of human subjects in all federally funded studies.
The value of medical research and preventive care to wellness and lower health care spending can be highlighted by the example of diabetes. Approximately 16 million people in the U.S. have diabetes, and 50 percent of people above age 65 are at risk for developing some form of the disease. Diabetes is a leading cause of adult blindness, kidney disease, heart disease, stroke and amputations, and reduces life expectancy by up to 30 percent. As much as 25 percent of Medicare expenditures are incurred in the treatment of diabetes-related complications.
Scientific discoveries, made possible by federal funding of medical research, have led to new efforts to prevent diabetes, as well as new treatment strategies to forestall the development of its debilitating and life-threatening complications. Today, people stricken with diabetes can, in concert with their health care providers, delay or prevent the serious and deadly complications of the disease. In other words, we now have the opportunity to reduce the burden of diabetes.
“Thirty years ago, the `Great Society’ was liberalism’s greatest hope, its greatest boast. Today, it stands as its greatest shame, a grand failure that has crushed the spirit, destroyed the families, and decimated the culture of those who have become enmeshed in its web.”
— Bob Dole, May 21, 1996, in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
Within a few weeks, Bill Clinton will sign into law a Republican reform of welfare. With a straight face, after twice vetoing similar legislation, he will attempt to take credit for what we have accomplished.
So be it. Our cause is justice for both the taxpayers and for the poor. Our purpose in welfare reform is not to save money but to bring into the mainstream of American life those who now are on the margins of our society and our economy. We will, in the words of the Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich, replace the welfare state with an opportunity society for all. The Clinton administration’s “Reinventing Government” program to reform the welfare state bureaucracy has failed. In fact, management reforms of the Reagan years were repealed and new labor-management councils that diluted efficient management were added as additional bureaucracy and red tape. We will revoke these Clinton administration policies and oppose the liberal philosophy that bureaucracy can reform welfare.
The current welfare system has spent $5 trillion in the last thirty years and has been a catastrophic failure. Despite this massive effort, conditions in our nation’s poor communities have grown measurably worse. Poverty used to be an economic problem; now it is a social pathology.
The key to welfare reform is restoring personal responsibility and encouraging two-parent households. The path to that goal lies outside of official Washington. In the hands of State and local officials, and under the eye of local taxpayers, welfare can again become a hand up instead of a handout. All able-bodied adults must be required to work, either in private sector jobs or in community work projects. Illegal aliens must be ineligible for all but emergency benefits. And a firm time limit for receipt of welfare must be enforced.
Because illegitimacy is the most serious cause of child poverty, we will encourage States to stop cash payments to unmarried teens and set a family cap on payments for additional children. When benefits of any kind are extended to teen mothers, they must be conditioned upon their attendance at school and their living at home with a parent, adult relative, or guardian. About half the children of today’s teen welfare mothers were fathered in statutory rape. We echo Bob Dole’s call to our nation’s governors to toughen and enforce State laws in this regard, as well as those concerning enforcement of child support.
Restoring common sense to welfare programs is only one side of the Republican equation for hope and opportunity. The other side is giving low-income households the tools with which they can build their own future. We propose to do this along the lines of the American Community Renewal Act, a Republican congressional initiative that would establish throughout the nation up to 100 renewal communities where residents, businesses, and investors would have unprecedented economic freedom and incentives to create prosperity.
School choice for low-income families is an integral part of that initiative.
We call for the removal of structural impediments which liberals throw in the path of poor people: over-regulation of start-up enterprises, excessive licensing requirements, needless restrictions on formation of schools and child-care centers catering to poor families, restrictions on providing public services in fields like transport and sanitation, and rigged franchises that close the opportunity door to all but a favored few.
Not everyone can make it on their own. Government at various levels has a role – and some aid programs do work well – and so do private individuals and charitable and faith-based organizations, whose record of success far outshines that of any public welfare program. To promote personal involvement with anti-poverty efforts, we call for a Charity Tax Credit that will be consistent with the fundamental changes we propose in the nation’s system of taxation. To ensure that religiously affiliated institutions can fulfill their helping mission, we endorse Republican legislation to stop discrimination against them in government programs.
Our commitment to older Americans runs throughout this platform. It strengthens our call for tax fairness, shows in our action agenda against violent crime, and motivates our crusade to preserve, protect, and strengthen Medicare.
The Republican Party has always opposed the earnings limitation for Social Security benefits, a confiscatory tax that discourages older Americans from active engagement in all walks of life. While Bill Clinton imposed his new tax on Social Security benefits, he also initially vetoed our legislation to reform the earnings limitation, just as he vetoed our estate tax reform.
The Social Security system remains the cornerstone of personal security for millions of the elderly. In 1983, a Republican president, working with the Republican Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee – Bob Dole – saved the Social Security system from fiscal disaster. We have a legal and moral responsibility to America’s seniors and will continue to do everything in our power to ensure that government honors our commitment to Social Security beneficiaries, now and in the future. We will keep it financially sound and keep politics out of its administration. We will work to ensure the integrity and solvency of the Social Security trust funds.
Those who are not older Americans now will one day be so. Our common goal is a secure economic future. To that end, public policy should encourage cooperative efforts by businesses and employees alike to expand the availability of savings vehicles for all. We want to expand retirement options so that individual choice, not government fiat, steers the decision-making process. We must increase both the amount and the portability of personal savings, especially in today’s rapidly changing and unpredictable economy. We salute congressional Republicans for their landmark legislation simplifying pension law, cutting away the red tape that prevented many businesses from offering pension plans, and establishing a new pension system designed to meet the needs of workers in small businesses.
We also salute Congressional Republicans for making long-term care more affordable and more available to those who need it. Too many seniors live in fear that they one day will incur long-term care costs that will wipe out their life savings and burden their children. The Republican Congress has passed legislation giving long-term care insurance policies the same tax-preferred treatment that health insurance policies now receive. Over the years, this legislation will give millions of Americans peace of mind and the financial wherewithal to obtain nursing home care of the highest quality.
“Those of us who grew up in rural America grew up with a common set of values, a code of living that stays with us all our lives. Love of God and country and family. Commitment to honesty, decency and personal responsibility. Self-reliance tempered by a sense of community…. Those values made us the greatest country on earth. And the secret to getting our country back on track is simply to return to them as a matter of national policy.”
— Bob Dole, August 19, 1995, in Ames, Iowa
We are the party of America’s farmers, ranchers, foresters, and all who hold the earth in stewardship with the Creator. Republican leadership established the Land Grant College System under Abraham Lincoln, the National Park System under Ulysses Grant, the National Wildlife Refuge System under Teddy Roosevelt, and today’s legal protections for clean air and water in more recent decades. We reaffirm our commitment to agricultural progress, environmental improvement, and the prudent development of our natural resources.
Our goal is to continue the progress we have made to achieve a cleaner, safer, healthier environment for all Americans – and to pass on to our children and grandchildren a better environment than we have today. We must recognize the unique role our States, localities, and private sector have in improving our environment. The States and communities are the laboratories of environmental innovation. Inflexible requirements hurt the environment, add unnecessary costs, and reduce technology development. While we have made substantial environmental progress, we must reject failed approaches created by fearmongering and centralized control which will not serve our environment well in the century ahead.
The Superfund program to clean up abandoned toxic waste sites is a classic case in point. More than half of the $30 billion already spent on Superfund has gone for litigation and administration. In other words, trial lawyers have profited from the current flawed and unfair liability scheme, while toxic waste sites wait to be cleaned up. Without the opposition of Bill Clinton, we will fix the broken Superfund law. We will direct resources to clean-up sites where there are real risks, and cooperate with citizens, States, and localities who want to help, rather than harassing them with unwarranted lawsuits.
The States have been leaders in returning contaminated sites to productive use under “brownfields” programs. These programs tailor clean-up standards appropriate for expected future use, thus enabling environmental cleanup and economic development. Accordingly, as an essential component of our comprehensive Superfund reform, we will remove disincentives in current Federal law in order to allow States to expand their innovative “brownfields” programs.
Inconsistent Federal policies have created a nightmare for our Nation’s ports at a critical time of growth and change in international trade. We must protect the environment while recognizing the unique situation of each port. There must be a coordination of State, local, and Federal roles in encouraging our ports to expand to meet current and future needs.
Republicans trust Americans to honor their shared desire to live and raise their children in a clean and healthy environment. For all environmental problems, we propose a common sense approach based on flexibility and consensus, that builds a better future on free enterprise, local control, sound science, and technology development. This is our positive and proactive agenda:
• assure that the air and water are clean and safe for our children and future generations;
• assure that everyone has access to public outdoor recreation areas; and that historic and environmentally significant wilderness and wetlands areas will be protected without compromising our commitment to the rights of property owners;
• set reasonable standards for environmental improvement that incorporate flexibility, acknowledge geographic differences, and create incentives for development of new technologies;
• base all government environmental decisions on the best peer-reviewed scientific evidence, while encouraging advancements in research;
• achieve progress, as much as possible, through incentives rather than compulsion, and improve compliance by letting States and localities play a greater role in setting and maintaining standards. Many States have enacted environmental education and “voluntary self-audit” laws to encourage people to find and correct pollution; the Congress should remove disincentives for States to achieve these goals; and
• assure private property owners of due process to protect their rights, and make environmental decisions in concert with those whose homes, businesses, and communities are directly affected.
Our commitment to an improved environment is best embodied in the recently enacted amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act. This Republican initiative will guarantee all Americans a safe and clean source of drinking water and will grant local communities the flexibility to avoid unnecessary requirements.
The Clinton Democrats disagree with our principles. They have increased spending by creating new bureaucratic programs, creating new paperwork requirements, and funding pet projects of their special interest friends.
However, the Clinton Administration has failed to reduce regulatory burdens on States, localities, and individuals. It has failed to create incentives for environmental improvements or use sound science and cooperation to achieve environmental goals. Today, they are planning to impose scientifically unsupported, massive new regulations on ozone and particulates. These rules will impose new requirements on cities, add unnecessary costs, and destroy jobs without adequate justification.
Republicans support the ongoing efforts of the States and communities to ensure reliable and safe water supplies. As the Federal government moves away from its past role as a grant giver and direct lender in the development of water-related infrastructure, we will encourage the establishment of public-private partnerships to build and finance our nation’s water infrastructure.
We recognize the Great Lakes encompass one-fifth of the fresh water supply of the entire world and we oppose any diversion of Great Lakes water.
Republicans have always advocated conserving our animal and plant resources, but we recognize the current Endangered Species Act is seriously flawed and, indeed, is often counterproductive because of its reliance on Federal command-and-control measures. The adherence of Clinton Democrats to these discredited ESA provisions has devastated the environment they pretend to protect by virtually encouraging landowners to remove habitat for marginal species to avoid government seizure of their property. We will improve the ESA by implementing an incentive-based program in cooperation with State, local, and tribal governments and private individuals to recognize the critical relationship between a healthy environment and a healthy economy founded on private property rights and responsibilities.
Republicans consider private property rights the cornerstone of environmental progress. That lesson has been confirmed in the tragic environmental record of Communist rule and of socialist regimes in the less developed world. By safeguarding those rights – by enforcing the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment and by providing compensation – we not only stand true to the Constitution but advance sound environmentalism as well. Republicans, led by Senator Dole, have spearheaded efforts in Congress to protect private property rights.
The nation’s public lands – half the territory in the West – must be administered both for today’s multiple uses and for tomorrow’s generations. We support multiple use conducted in an environmentally and economically sustainable manner. We will preserve priority wilderness and wetlands – real wetlands of environmental significance, not the damp grounds of a bureaucrat’s imagination.
We support a thorough review of the lands owned by the federal government with a goal of transferring lands that can best be managed by State, county, or municipal governments.
This review should ensure that the federal government retains ownership to unique property worthy of national oversight. Properties transferred from federal control must recognize existing property and mineral rights, including water, mining claims, grazing permits, rights of access, hunting, fishing, and contracts.
We recognize the historic use of public lands for livestock production in compliance with legal requirements. Our renewable rangeland should continue to be available under conditions that ensure both expanded production of livestock and protection of the rangeland environment. We condemn the Clinton Administration’s range war against this pillar of the western economy.
We recognize the need to keep our National Park System healthy and accessible to all. Our National Parks have a backlog of more than four billion dollars in maintenance and infrastructure repair projects. The nation’s natural crown jewels are losing some of their luster, tarnished by neglect and indifference. Our park system needs to be rebuilt, restructured, and reinvigorated to ensure that all Americans can enjoy and be proud of their parks.
We stand for sustainable forestry to stabilize and provide continuity for our timber industry and to improve the health of the country’s public forests. This requires active management practices, such as the responsible salvage harvesting of dead and diseased trees. The Democrats’ hands-off approach has made our great forests vulnerable to ravaging fires, insects, and disease.
The Democrats’ policies have devastated the economy of timber-dependent communities across the Pacific Northwest and in the Tongass National Forest, the Nation’s largest and most productive, to please elite special interests. We join families and communities in rural America who rely on public forests for their livelihood in calling for the federal government to carefully evaluate the socioeconomic impacts of its actions and to live up to its commitments to provide an adequate timber supply to dependent communities through sustainable forest management.
We reaffirm the traditional deference by the federal government to the States in the allocation and appropriation of water. We deplore the Clinton Administration’s disregard for State primacy through attempts to preempt State law with respect to water usage and watershed protection. We also recognize the need to protect adequate supplies of water for agriculture without unreasonable government mandates.
We support the original intent of the Mining Law of 1872: to provide the certainty and land tenure necessary for miners to risk tremendous capital investment on federal lands, thus preserving jobs – indeed, whole industries – and bolstering our domestic economy. We support appropriate changes to the law to ensure the taxpayer will receive a reasonable return for the value of extracted minerals. We oppose extremist attempts to shut down American mining in favor of our international competitors.
Our goal is an energy supply available to all – competitively priced, secure, and clean – produced by healthy industries operating in an environmentally responsible manner using domestically available resources to the greatest extent practicable.
No one should take that for granted. Today’s energy boom was hard won by Republican reforms in the 1980s, ending more than three decades of ruinous Federal meddling that drove up prices and drove down supplies. Now that progress is under attack from the same quarters that brought us energy crises, gas rationing, and dangerous dependence on unreliable supplies of foreign oil. That dependency is 50 percent today, and will be two-thirds in only a few short years.
It does not have to be this way. The Clinton Administration has learned nothing from the collapse of liberalism. It clings to outdated regulation that stifles production and drives up consumer prices. Clinton proposed a punishing BTU energy tax that would have penalized consumers and cost thousands of jobs. After Republicans derailed that bad idea, Bill Clinton championed – and congressional Democrats approved – a 4.7-cent per gallon gas tax hike, not to improve roads and bridges, but for general spending.
Now the Clinton Administration demands lighter cars and family trucks to meet its Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) goals, at the cost of thousands of lives lost every year in auto accidents – not to mention the cost in jobs lost to foreign auto makers.
Nowhere has the failure of presidential leadership been more apparent than in Clinton’s position on finding a reasonable long-term solution to our Nation’s nuclear waste disposal problem. We support the federal government’s obligation under contract to take possession of nuclear waste and remove it from temporary storage in over 30 states across the country.
At the same time, we believe that the siting and licensing of both permanent and interim storage facilities should be based on sound science and not solely upon political expediency.
The Clinton approach hobbles the nation’s progress. Our program of energy renewal, on the other hand, is an essential component of broader opportunity for all. We must finish the job of preparing America’s energy capacity to meet the challenges of the 21st Century.
Today, Republican Governors and the States are leading the way to true and meaningful electric utility industry deregulation and competition and lower rates for all consumers.
Restructuring the electric utility industry presents both great opportunities and challenges for our Nation. We support greater competition as we move toward a market-based approach, with true and meaningful deregulation, after an appropriate and fair transition period that allows for competitive retail markets while ensuring reliability of service in a cost-effective manner for all consumers.
We support elimination of the Department of Energy to emphasize the need for greater privatization and to reduce the size of the federal government. The Department of Energy’s defense concerns should be transferred to an independent agency under the Defense Department. Other necessary programs should be farmed out to other departments and offices.
We support environmentally responsible energy extraction from public and private lands. We will not tolerate poor reclamation or pollution from mining or drilling. We advocate environmentally sound oil production in the largest known onshore or offshore petroleum reserve in the Nation – the small coastal plain portion of the 19-million acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Oil produced there, traveling through an existing pipeline, will bring billions of dollars in revenues to reduce the federal budget deficit. On the other hand, without ANWR coastal plain development, we will lose hundreds of thousands of potential jobs and untold billions of American dollars will be paid to foreign governments for the oil not produced from our home reserves.
We continue to support and encourage the development of our domestic natural gas industry. Natural gas is a clean, abundant, and domestically available resource, which can be provided, transported, and consumed in an environmentally responsible manner.
We will delegate management and collection of federal oil and gas royalties to the States, thereby increasing receipts both to the States and to the federal Treasury. This action will reduce bureaucratic involvement and administrative costs to the federal government. We urge the federal government to expedite and streamline the exploration, leasing, and permitting process for the domestic oil and gas industry.
The coal industry now supplies more than half of all electric generation and is vital for our entire economy. We encourage research for cleaner coal combustion technologies and will require that objective, peer-reviewed science be the basis for environmental decisions that increase costs for electric rate payers.
Because no single source of energy can reliably supply the needs of the American people, we believe in fostering alternative and renewable energy sources to assist in reducing dependence on unreliable foreign oil supplies. We anticipate the continuing development of energy from coal, oil, natural gas, agricultural products such as ethanol and biodiesel, nuclear, and hydro sources and where economically competitive, from wind, solar, and geothermal power.
The United States should continue its commitment to addressing global climate change in a prudent and effective manner that does not punish the U.S. economy. Despite scientific uncertainty about the role of human activity in climate change, the Clinton Administration has leapfrogged over reasoned scientific inquiry and now favors misdirected measures, such as binding targets and timetables, imposed only on the United States and certain other developed countries, to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Republicans deplore the arbitrary and premature abandonment of the previous policy of voluntary reductions of greenhouse gas emissions. We further deplore ceding U.S. sovereignty on environmental issues to international bureaucrats and our foreign economic competitors.
Energy policy and transportation policy go hand in hand. To prepare the National Highway System and the National Aviation System for the 21st Century, we will maintain the integrity of the Federal transportation trust funds and respect the call by Republican governors to ensure those funds are returned to the States with a minimum of federal red tape. Trusting the people, congressional Republicans passed the National Highway System Designation Act of 1995, returning to the States decisions about highway safety. We support reasonable speed limits, reflecting local needs and geography, and prudent personal safety measures, but we oppose Washington’s one-size-fits-all approach to the mobility of the American people.
The moral strength abundant on America’s farms and rural communities has been the foundation and source of strength for our Nation since its earliest days. America’s settlers built their farming communities on values like faith, hard work, dedication, and self-sacrifice.
Republicans see a very bright future for agriculture and rural America. Our program to strengthen rural America will benefit every sector of the economy and every part of the Nation. First and foremost, we will reduce the tax burden – both the estate tax and the capital gains levy – on those who produce America’s food and fiber. This is essential to preserve production agriculture. Just like urban small businesses, rural producers need full deductibility of health insurance premiums and an overall tax structure that is simpler and fairer.
Deficit spending by government is death by strangulation for agriculture. Our farms are major users of capital, with over $150 billion in current borrowing. Interest payments are one of their heaviest burdens. The Republican balanced budget of last year, vetoed by Bill Clinton, would have saved farmers more than $15 billion in interest costs by the year 2002. We stand with the American farmer in demanding an end to the spending excesses in official Washington.
The elections of 1994 were a resounding victory for American agriculture. The first Republican majorities in both the House and Senate in 40 years won an historic breakthrough with the “Freedom to Farm” act. For the first time in six decades, Federal policy will allow individual farmers to grow what makes sense on their own land, not what a bureaucrat wants grown there. “Freedom to Farm” will permit them to respond to world trade opportunities for value-added exports that bring new jobs and broader prosperity to rural America.
Moreover, the Republican “Freedom to Farm” act is the most pro-environment farm bill ever. By liberating high-tech, high-yield U.S. agriculture to pursue ever greater levels of efficiency, it will enable growers to produce more from less land, saving wildlife habitat and fragile soils from the plow. The new law allows farmers to rotate crops, thereby reducing use of pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizer. It continues the Conservation and Wetland Reserve Programs and creates a new Environmental Quality Incentive Program to help farmers do what they do best – conserve the land and pass it on, enriched and enhanced, to future generations.
While promising to modernize farm programs, the Clinton Administration instead advanced failed “New Deal” policies. Throughout the ensuing debate, they fought every effort by Congress to get the hand of government out of agriculture. Finally, having agreed to “Freedom to Farm,” Bill Clinton is threatening to repeal this historic legislation, undercutting long-term planning by farmers across the country.
In contrast, “Freedom to Farm” ends the command-and-control policies that have choked the entrepreneurial spirit of rural America. “Freedom to Farm” permits experimentation with new crops and new markets, just in time to meet an explosion in worldwide demand for food, fiber, fuels and industrial products. We reaffirm our historical and continuing support for the expanded use of biodiesel and ethanol to improve the rural economy and reduce our dependence on imported oil.
Experts predict the need for U.S. producers to triple their output over the next 40 years. “Freedom to Farm” positions them to meet the challenge of feeding a hungry and troubled world.
While “Freedom to Farm” greatly reduced USDA paperwork imposed on farmers, much remains to be done to reduce the regulations that add about $6,000 per farm per year to the cost of farming. Our extensive program of regulatory reform is explained elsewhere in this platform.
Republicans worked hard for and applaud the repeal of the Delaney Clause and the reform of food safety laws. These changes allow a responsible approach toward crop production and ensure the quality of the Nation’s food supply, with special protections for our children.
We reaffirm the Republican Party’s historic commitment to agricultural progress through research and education, starting with the system of land grant colleges established in 1862. For the new century, as in the days of Lincoln, farming must look ahead to innovation and constant improvement, especially biotechnology and precision farming techniques.
“It’s time to restore American leadership throughout the world. Our future security depends on American leadership that is respected, American leadership that is trusted, and when necessary, American leadership that is feared.”
— Bob Dole
We are the party of peace through strength. Republicans put the interests of our country over those of other nations – and of the United Nations. We believe the safety and prosperity of the American home and workplace depend upon ensuring our national security in a dangerous world. This principle was proven in our long struggle against Communism, and – as recent events have tragically shown – it is still true today. The gains we made for democracy around the world under two Republican presidents are now imperiled by a rudderless foreign policy. We vigorously support restoring the promotion of democracy worldwide as a cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy. Democracy is the best guarantor of peace and will ensure greater respect for fundamental human rights and the rule of law.
The international situation – and our country’s security against the purveyors of evil – has worsened over the last three and a half years. Today, Russia’s democratic future is more uncertain than at any time since the hammer and sickle was torn from the Kremlin towers. With impunity, Fidel Castro has shot American citizens out of the skies over international waters. North Korea has won unprecedented concessions regarding its nuclear capability from the Clinton Administration. Much of Africa has dissolved in tragedy – Somalia, Rwanda, Burundi, Liberia. The Clinton Administration objected to lifting the arms embargo on Bosnia while it facilitated the flow of Iranian weapons to that country. Bill Clinton made tough campaign pledges on China but subsequently failed in his attempt to bluff the Chinese government – diminishing American prestige while not addressing the serious issues of human rights, regional stability, and nuclear proliferation. Bill Clinton’s weakness, indecision, and double-talk, have undermined America’s role as leader of the free world.
In 1996, the nation’s choice is clear: either we return responsible leadership to the White House , or Bill Clinton’s lack of international purpose results in catastrophe. We must keep our country strong and sovereign, and assert the interests and values of the United States in the international arena.
“Let us begin by reaffirming that Europe’s security is indispensable to the security of the United States, and that American leadership is absolutely indispensable to the security of Europe.”
— Bob Dole, June 25, 1996
The Atlantic Alliance: Our relations with the nations of Europe must continue to be based on the NATO alliance, which remains the worlds’ strongest bulwark of freedom and international stability. Our policy will strive to consolidate our Cold War victory in Europe and to build a firm foundation for a new century of peace. In the same spirit that Ronald Reagan called for the integration of Spain into the NATO alliance, we call for the immediate expansion of the framework for peace to include those countries of Central Europe which demonstrate the strongest commitment to the democratic ideals NATO was created to protect.
With the people of Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary we have special bonds. These nations – and others – are rightfully part of the future of Europe. As Bob Dole said, “It is an outrage that the patriots who threw off the chains of Soviet bondage have been told by Bill Clinton that they must wait to join the NATO alliance.” We strongly endorse Bob Dole’s call for Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary to enter NATO by 1998.
Bosnia: We support America’s men and women in uniform who are serving in Bosnia and Herzegovina. However, we did not support the ill-conceived and inconsistent policies that led to their deployment. In 1992, candidate Bill Clinton pledged to lift the arms embargo on Bosnia, but once in office he ignored his promises. For three years, Bill Clinton upheld the illegal and unjust arms embargo on Bosnia and allowed genocidal aggression to go virtually unchallenged, while Bob Dole successfully led the effort in the Congress to lift the U.S. arms embargo. Once again, Bill Clinton subordinated American national interests to the United Nations in vetoing bipartisan legislation that would have lifted the U.S. arms embargo and rendered the deployment of American forces unnecessary. At the same time Bill Clinton was opposing congressional efforts to lift the arms embargo, he made a secret decision to allow the terrorist Iranian regime to supply arms to Bosnia. This duplicitous policy has endangered U.S. and Allied forces and given Iran a foothold in Europe.
We look forward to a timely withdrawal of U.S. forces from Bosnia and recognize that providing the Bosnian Federation with adequate weapons and training is the only realistic exit strategy. We support the democratic process in Bosnia and, when conditions exist, the conduct of free and fair elections. We support bringing indicted war criminals to justice. We encourage the peoples of the region – and in particular those of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia and Montenegro – to play a constructive role in fostering peace and stability there. We note with concern that repression and human rights abuses are escalating in Kosova and support the appointment of a U.S. special envoy to help resolve the situation there.
Russia: We salute the people of Russia in their quest for democracy and a free market economy. During this crucial period, the Clinton Administration has pursued an accommodationist and misguided policy toward Moscow. Bill Clinton’s comparison of Russia’s extreme brutality in Chechnya to the American Civil War is offensive. The Clinton Administration’s passivity in the face of Russia’s intimidation and economic blackmail against countries of the former Soviet Union has encouraged the rise of extreme nationalist and undemocratic forces. Its willingness to accept Russian changes to already agreed-to arms control treaties has undermined security. Its complacency over Russia’s sale of nuclear technology to Iran and Cuba has contributed to the threat of nuclear proliferation.
Our foreign policy toward Russia should put American interests first and consolidate our Cold War victory in Europe. We have a national interest in a security relationship with a democratic Russia. Specifically, we will encourage Russia to respect the sovereignty and independence of its neighbors; support a special security arrangement between Russia and NATO – but not Moscow’s veto over NATO enlargement; support Russian entry to the G-7 after its reforms have been achieved; and link U.S. assistance to Russian adherence to international treaty obligations.
Newly Independent States: We reaffirm our party’s historic commitment to the independence of all former Captive Nations still recovering from the long night of Soviet Communism, especially Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Armenia, and Ukraine. We endorse Republican legislation to establish in Washington, D. C., funded by private contributions, an international memorial to the one hundred million victims of Communism.
Ireland: We support efforts to establish peace with justice in Northern Ireland through a peace process inclusive of all parties who reject violence. During this difficult period in Irish history, we encourage private U. S. investment in the North, fully consistent with the MacBride principles for fair employment, in order to address the systemic discriminatory practices that still exist, especially against Catholics, in the workplace and elsewhere. We call on all parties to renounce terrorism in the Northern Ireland conflict.
Cyprus: We encourage a peaceful settlement for Cyprus and respect by all parties for the wishes of the Cypriot people. Concerned about continuing tension in the Aegean Sea, we will maintain close ties to both Greece and Turkey and urge all parties to refrain from precipitous actions and assertions contrary to legally established territorial arrangements.
We face two scandalous situations. First, most Americans do not realize our country has no defense against long-range missile attack. Second, the current occupant of the Oval Office refuses to tell them of that danger. So we will.
This is the frightening truth: The United States provided the technology to Israel to protect it from Iraqi missile attacks during the Persian Gulf War, but President Clinton refuses to provide the technology – technology that is readily available – to the American people to protect our country from the growing threat posed by long-range ballistic missiles. The Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) of the last two Republican administrations has been dismantled by Bill Clinton, who – contrary to the national security interests of the United States – clings to the obsolete Cold War ABM Treaty. Clinton slashed the funding budgeted by past presidents for missile defense and even violates the law by slowing down critical theater missile defenses. He has pursued negotiations to actually expand the outdated ABM Treaty, further tying America’s hands, and hobbling our self-defense. He now seeks new limitations that will hinder the United States from developing and deploying even theater ballistic missile defenses to protect our troops abroad.
In a peaceful world, such limitations would be imprudent. In today’s world, they are immoral. The danger of a missile attack with nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons is the most serious threat to our national security. Communist China has mocked our vulnerability by threatening to attack Los Angeles if we stand by our historic commitment to the Republic of China on Taiwan. We are vulnerable to blackmail – nuclear or otherwise – from a host of terrorist states that are now trying to acquire the instruments of doom. In the face of those dangers, Bill Clinton has ignored his responsibilities. In the most egregious instance, he directed that a National Intelligence Estimate focus only on the missile threat to the continental United States, deliberately ignoring the near-term menace posed to Alaska and Hawaii by long-range missiles now being developed or otherwise acquired by the Communists who rule North Korea.
America will be increasingly threatened by long-range ballistic missiles in the near future, but there also exists today a more immediate threat from the proliferation of shorter-range, or “theater” missiles. Bill Clinton says that theater missile defense (TMD) is a top priority of his administration, yet refuses to provide adequate funding for our most promising and effective TMD programs. For example, not only has he recently cut funding by 40% for the Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) program, but he has also failed to request sufficient funds to develop and deploy the Navy Upper Tier system. Republicans will fully fund and deploy these and other TMD systems to protect American troops and vital interests abroad.
The Republican Party is committed to the protection of all Americans – including our two million citizens in Alaska and Hawaii – against missile attack. We are determined to deploy land-based and sea-based theater missile defenses as soon as possible, and a national system thereafter. We will not permit the mistakes of past diplomacy, based on the immoral concept of Mutual Assured Destruction, to imperil the safety of our nation, our Armed Forces abroad, and our allies. Arms control will be a means to enhance American national security, not an end in itself. We therefore endorse the Defend America Act of 1996, introduced by Senator Bob Dole which calls for a national missile defense system for all fifty States by the year 2003.
To cope with the threat of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the United States will have to deter the threat or use of weapons of mass destruction by rogue states. This in turn will require the continuing maintenance and development of nuclear weapons and their periodic testing. The Clinton Administration’s proposed Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) is inconsistent with American security interests.
Republicans are committed to ensuring the status of the United States as the world’s preeminent military power. We must reverse the decline in what our nation spends for defense. In just three and a half years, an amateur approach to military matters and dramatic reductions in defense spending under the Clinton Administration have had a serious negative impact on the readiness and capabilities of our armed forces. In 1994, three of the Army’s primary combat divisions reported unacceptably low levels of readiness, and all forward-deployed Army divisions reported below par readiness ratings. Not since the “Hollow Army” days of Jimmy Carter have Army readiness levels been so low. Funding shortfalls and shortages of spare parts and munitions are limiting training opportunities and thus the combat readiness of our forces. At the same time, Bill Clinton’s peacekeeping operations and other global ventures have increased the operational demands on the limited forces available, extended the duration of their deployments, and put immense strains on service members and their families – without any discernible benefit to U.S. national security.
Republicans faced a similar situation with a deteriorating military in 1981, but then two Republican presidents turned things around and restored America’s world leadership. We must do it again, and quickly. The All-Volunteer force is composed of the finest military personnel in the world today. These outstanding men and women deserve a civilian leadership committed to providing them with the resources, technology, and equipment they need to safely and successfully perform their missions. They deserve nothing but the best from the people they protect.
We recognize that today’s military research and development, as well as procurement, is tomorrow’s readiness. We are committed to readiness not just today, but also tomorrow. Bill Clinton has decimated our research and development effort, and slashed procurement for our armed forces. Not since 1950 have we spent so little on new weapons for our military.
Fortunately, the Republican Congress has restored some of the funding Bill Clinton sought to cut for research and development and for procurement. Only a Commander-in-Chief who fully understands and respects the military can rebuild America’s defense capabilities.
The Clinton Administration’s own inadequate defense “strategy” has been underfunded. The mismatch between strategy, forces, and resources poses an enormous potential risk to America’s military personnel and vital interests. This mismatch must be resolved now, before regional crises erupt and find our nation unprepared. A Republican president will immediately conduct a thorough review that will require resources and programs to be redirected according to goals set by the President instead by the bureaucracy.
Money alone is not the answer. It must be spent the right way, with long-term efficiencies in mind. We call for reductions in the overhead and infrastructure of the Defense Department and successful demonstrations of weapons and equipment prior to full scale purchases. Budgetary decisions must be made with an eye to preserving the nation’s defense industrial base, accelerating procurement of key military and dual-use technologies, incorporating emerging technologies into military operations, and maintaining an adequate, safe and reliable capability in nuclear weapons.
Only a Republican president and a Republican Congress can fulfill these duties.
We scorn the Clintonite view that soon “nationhood as we know it will be obsolete; all states will recognize a single global authority.” This is nonsense, but it explains why the Democrat Administration has lurched from one foreign policy fiasco to the next – and why Bill Clinton vetoed the first legislative restructuring of America’s diplomatic institutions in a half century. A Republican president will reform the Department of State to ensure that America’s interests always come first.
Republicans will not subordinate United States sovereignty to any international authority. We oppose the commitment of American troops to U.N. “peacekeeping” operations under foreign commanders and will never compel American servicemen to wear foreign uniforms or insignia. We will insist on an end to waste, mismanagement, and fraud at the United Nations. We will ensure American interests are pursued and defended at the United Nations, will not tolerate any international taxation by the organization, nor will we permit any international court to seize, try, or punish American citizens. Before his departure from the Senate, Bob Dole introduced legislation prohibiting U.S. payments to the United Nations and any of its agencies if they attempt to implement global taxes. We support the passage of the Prohibition on United Nations Taxation Act of 1996 to preserve America’s sovereignty and the American taxpayer’s right to taxation with representation.
A Republican president will withdraw from Senate consideration any pending international conventions or treaties that erode the constitutional foundations of our Republic and will neither negotiate nor submit such agreements in the future. We will ensure that our future relations with international organizations not infringe upon either the sovereignty of the United States or the earnings of the American taxpayer.
American citizens must retain ownership of their private property, and must maintain full control of our national and state parks, without international interference.
Terrorist states have made a comeback during Bill Clinton’s Administration. He has treated their rulers with undue respect and failed to curb their acquisition of weapons of mass destruction. Although congressional Republicans passed anti-terrorism legislation earlier this year, the Clinton Administration has not implemented many key provisions of the law. It has not been used to freeze terrorists’ assets, deny terrorists’ visas, cut off foreign aid to supporters of terrorist states, or halt terrorist fundraising in the United States. The Clinton Administration has not implemented the anti-terrorist research program established and funded by Congress in the 1990 Aviation Security Act.
A Republican president will forcefully lead the world community to isolate and punish state sponsors of terrorism. It is vital to our security that we actively work to reverse the threat posed by these regimes – through imposition and enforcement of sanctions, banning investment, and leading our allies in effective policies. The governments of North Korea, Iran, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, and Cuba must know that America’s first line of defense is not our shoreline, but their own borders. We will be proactive, not reactive, to strike the hand of terrorism before it can be raised against Americans.
We denounce terrorist attacks made on American citizens at home or abroad. We must take all legitimate steps to swiftly apprehend and severely punish persons committing terrorists acts. However, we must also denounce any attempts to deprive law-abiding citizens of their God-given, constitutionally-protected rights while fighting terrorism. To take away the liberty of the American people while fighting terrorism is repugnant to the history and character of our nation. We firmly oppose any legislation that would infringe upon the rights of American citizens to freedom of religion, speech, press, and assembly; the right to keep and bear arms; and the right to judicial due process.
We support those U. S. aid programs to Africa which have proven records of success, especially the Child Survival Program of vitamins, immunizations, sanitation, and oral rehydration.
We hail the social and economic progress of those nations which have used the free market to liberate the talent and striving of their people. They deserve our attention, but our outreach must be on a case-by-case basis. Our hope for the future of South Africa, for example, stands in contrast with the military rule now imposed on Nigeria, the continent’s most populous country.
The Republican Party’s commitment to freedom and human rights in Africa is as old as the establishment of the Republic of Liberia. Today, the tragic fate of that small nation symbolizes the larger tragedy that has befallen much of the continent. The Clinton Administration’s dismal performance in Somalia, resulting in needless American deaths, set the stage for international passivity in the face of genocide in Rwanda and Burundi. The Clinton Administration has even failed to rally the world against the slave trade sponsored by the government of the Sudan, whose persecution of Sudanese Christians and others is nothing short of genocide. A Republican president will not tolerate this unconscionable treatment of children and women.
Bill Clinton’s foreign policy failures loom large in Asia. Four years ago, most of that continent was rushing toward democratic reform. Today it threatens to slip backwards into conflict and repression. A Republican Administration will keep the mutual security treaties with Japan and with the Republic of Korea as the foundation of our role in the region. We will halt Bill Clinton’s efforts to appease North Korea by rewarding treaty-breaking with American taxpayer-financed oil and nuclear reactors. We will make further improvement of relations with Vietnam and North Korea contingent upon their cooperation in achieving a full and complete accounting of our POW’s and MIA’s from those Asian conflicts.
China and Taiwan: We support the aspiration of the Chinese people for both economic and political liberty, which includes respect for the human rights of the people of Tibet. Our relationship with the Chinese government will be based on vigilance with regard to its military potential, proliferation activities, and its attitude toward human rights, especially in Hong Kong. The Taiwan Relations Act must remain the basis for our relations with the Republic of China on Taiwan. We reaffirm our commitment to Taiwan’s security and will regard any threat to alter its status by force as a threat to our own security interests. We will make available to Taiwan the material it needs for self-defense, particularly theater missile defense and coastal patrol submarines. In recognition of its growing importance in the global economy, we support a larger role for Taiwan in international organizations.
Philippines: We reaffirm our historic friendship with the Philippine people, which has endured through changing circumstances.
Peace through strength continues to be central in the Middle East. Saddam Hussein reminded us just five years ago of the potential for aggression by radical states in this region.
Republicans understand the importance of maintaining a robust U.S. military capability in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf, cooperating with our allies to ensure regional stability. Republicans also understand the need to be willing to use force to deter aggression and, where deterrence fails, to defeat it. That is why Republicans were the bedrock of support for the congressional vote to authorize the use of force against Iraq’s aggression in 1991, while most Democrats voted against Operation Desert Storm.
The Middle East remains a region vital to American security. Our enduring goals there are to promote freedom and stability, secure access to oil resources, and maintain the security of Israel, our one democratic ally in the region with whom we share moral bonds and common strategic interests. Most of the world’s oil exports flow from the Middle East, and thus its strategic significance remains. But it is still the most volatile region in the world. Islamic radicalism, increasing terrorism, and rogue states like Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Libya threaten regional and international stability.
In this environment, Israel’s demonstrated strategic importance to the U.S. as our most reliable and capable ally in this part of the world is more critical than ever. That is why Israel’s security is central to U.S. interests in the region. That is why Republican Administrations initiated efforts with Israel to pre-position military equipment, to conduct joint contingency planning and joint military exercises. That is why we advocate continuing cooperation on the Arrow Missile, boost phase intercept, and the Nautilus programs. That is why we look toward the greater integration of Israel into our regional defense planning and wish to explore ways to enhance our strategic cooperation. That is why we have continued to support full funding for aid to Israel despite cuts in the foreign assistance budget, and why we applaud the country’s commitment toward economic self-sufficiency.
We reaffirm that Republican commitment to maintain Israel’s qualitative military advantage over any adversary or group of adversaries. While we fully support Israel’s efforts to find peace and security with its neighbors, we will judge the peace process by the security it generates both for Israel and for the United States. In that context, we support Israel’s right to make its own decisions regarding security and boundaries. We strongly oppose the Clinton Administration’s attempts to interfere in Israel’s democratic process.
We applaud the Republican Congress for enacting legislation to recognize Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel. A Republican administration will ensure that the U.S. Embassy is moved to Jerusalem by May 1999.
We honor the memory of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, and express our support for the new government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. We applaud those leaders in the Arab world, President Mubarak and King Hussein, who have spoken courageously and acted boldly for the cause of peace. We endorse continued assistance and support for countries which have made peace with Israel – led by Egypt and later joined by Jordan. Republican leadership will support others who follow their example, while isolating terrorist states until they are fit to rejoin the community of nations.
The U.S. commitment to democratic institutions and market economies in the Western Hemisphere has paralleled our enduring interest in the security of the region, as laid out in the Monroe Doctrine. The success of Republican national security policies in the 1980s halted Soviet imperialism and promoted the process of economic and political reform in Latin America – defeating totalitarianism of the right and of the left. During the last decade and a half, Latin American countries have made enormous progress developing democratic institutions. We applaud their progress and offer our assistance to further expand and deepen democratic conditions in the region.
Hemispheric progress toward free and democratic societies has stalled during the Clinton Administration. A government bought and paid for by drug traffickers holds power in Colombia. Mexico – with whom we share hundreds of miles of border – is increasingly tainted by narcotics-related corruption at all levels of society. Similarly, there are signs of backsliding on democracy in Latin America, most notably in Paraguay, where a coup was narrowly averted earlier this year.
We call for a new partnership among the democratic nations of the Western Hemisphere to protect our hard-won victories against dictatorial government. This new partnership must address the most recent and dangerous threat to the hemisphere – narcotics traffickers and their trade. The emergence of the Western Hemisphere as an area – apart from Cuba – which shares our ideals of economic and political liberty must also mean close cooperation with the United States on a range of security issues. The Clinton Administration’s policy of denying most Latin American nations the opportunity to replace their obsolescent military equipment, raise the professional competence of their armed forces, and cooperate fully with the United States in joint military training and exercises will be reversed by a Republican Administration.
We cherish our special relationship with the people of Mexico and Canada. In a spirit of mutual respect, we believe the forthright discussion of economic and social issues that may divide us is in the best interest of all three nations.
Bill Clinton’s outreach to Castro has only delayed the emergence of “Cuba Libre,” extending the duration of Communist tyranny. The Republican Party has not wavered and will not waver in its goal of a democratic Cuba. We affirm our policy of isolating the Castro regime, including full implementation of the Helms-Burton Act to penalize foreign firms which do business there.
Bill Clinton’s awkward and misguided intervention in Haiti has cost American taxpayers some $3 billion and risked the lives of American military personnel for a less than vital interest.
We reject Clinton administration claims of “success” in its military intervention in Haiti. Human rights abuses by government forces go unpunished, promised economic reforms have not been made, and the democratic process is deeply flawed.
America is and must remain the leader of the world. We did not win the Cold War without allies and friends, and we hope to face future challenges with them. Our country should not bear world burdens alone. Providing friendly nations with access to U.S. defense equipment can protect American security interests abroad and reduce the likelihood that American forces will have to be directly engaged in military conflict. The Clinton Administration has been blind to that wisdom.
We have seen the result in Bosnia, where American ground forces have been deployed because the Clinton Administration denied Bosnia the opportunity to acquire defense equipment in the United States.
The Clinton administration has diverted aid from our friends to support U.N. operations and social welfare spending in the Third World. Congressional Republicans have done all they could to resist this folly. Only a Republican president can put an end to it.
The Clinton administration’s failure to couple American interests abroad with foreign aid has produced wasteful spending and has presented an impediment to achieving a balanced budget. A Republican administration will ensure foreign aid is cost-effective and based on its important role in directly promoting American national interests.
American scientific and industrial leadership is one of the critical factors sustaining American security. Our technological edge is at risk not only because of the Clinton Administration’s refusal to sustain an adequate investment in defense modernization, but also its virtual abandonment of national security-related export controls. Acquisition of technology by aspiring proliferators of weapons of mass destruction has been irresponsibly facilitated. A Republican Administration will protect the American technological edge. It will do so by expanding investment in defense modernization, ensuring that the Defense Department has a key role in approving exports of militarily critical technology, and restoring the effectiveness of export control regimes.
As Commander-in-Chief, Bill Clinton has been out of touch with the needs of the troops under his command. Bob Dole has served in the military and will protect military families against inflation, restore appropriate funding levels for billets and family housing, and ensure an environment where promotions and awards are made on the basis of military merit. A Republican president who has been on active duty will not casually disrupt military family life by sending troops on non-military missions around the world.
We have a solemn obligation to those who fight for America. Our military personnel should not be denied a cost of living increase, as Bill Clinton proposed in his first year in office. A Republican president will ensure a high priority for the quality of life of our military personnel and their families.
We will maintain the All-Volunteer force and will resist attempts to bring back the draft, whether directly or through Democrat schemes for compulsory national service. We will maintain our Armed Forces as a meritocracy, a model for the rest of our society, without special preferences or double standards for any group.
We salute the men and women of the National Guard and Reserve, citizen soldiers who have been – and must continue to be – a tradition in America. They perform important military functions as an integral part of our warfighting capability, and provide a critical link between our national security efforts and every community in the country. Our National Guard and Reserve forces must not be treated as an afterthought.
We oppose Bill Clinton’s assault on the culture and traditions of the Armed Forces, especially his attempt to lift the ban on homosexuals in the military. We affirm that homosexuality is incompatible with military service.
We support the advancement of women in the military. We reaffirm our support for the exemption of women from ground combat units and are concerned about the current policy of involuntarily assigning women to combat or near-combat units. A Republican president will continue to reevaluate and revise, as necessary, current policies in light of evidence with regard to the effect on military morale, discipline, and overall readiness. We will not tolerate sexual harassment or misconduct toward anyone in the uniform, but we oppose politically motivated witch-hunts that smear the innocent and destroy honorable careers. To promote the dignity of all members of the Armed Forces and their families, we endorse the efforts of congressional Republicans to halt the sale, in military facilities, of pornographic materials.
We deplore Bill Clinton’s shameless attempt to use protections afforded active duty military personnel under the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Civil Relief Act of 1940 to protect himself from a sexual harassment lawsuit. We will amend the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Civil Relief Act of 1940 to make clear that its protection against civil suits while on active duty does not extend to the occupant of the Oval Office.
The Republican Party has always been the advocate of the nation’s veterans and remains unequivocally committed to the faithful fulfillment of America’s obligations to them. We have no greater duty than providing for the courageous men and women who have risked their lives in defense of our country, a major reason why we defeated Bill Clinton’s plan to replace veterans’ health care with socialized medicine. We will continue to meet the nation’s promises to those who make the military their career. That is why Republicans proposed and created a separate Department of Veterans Affairs, support veterans’ preference in federal employment education and retraining programs, and pledge sufficient funding for veterans’ hospitals, medical care, and employment programs.
The intelligence community should be our first line of defense against terrorism, drug trafficking, nuclear proliferation, and foreign espionage. Bill Clinton’s neglect of our country’s intelligence service is one of his most serious sins of omission. He has underfunded, misutilized, and marginalized critical intelligence missions and capabilities. No wonder his first appointee as Director of Central Intelligence has endorsed Bob Dole. The nation’s security – and the personal safety of our citizens – cannot be placed at risk.
Effective intelligence can be expensive. But what it costs is measured in dollars rather than lives – an important lesson of the Gulf War. A Republican Administration will reverse the decline in funding for intelligence personnel and operations while better managing the development of futuristic capabilities. We will not constrain U.S. intelligence personnel with “politically correct” standards that impede their ability to collect and act on intelligence information. We will conduct whatever intelligence operations are necessary to safeguard American lives against the terrorists who bomb our airplanes and buildings.
The Republican Party led America into space and remains committed to its exploration and mastery. We consider space travel and space science a national priority with virtually unlimited benefits, in areas ranging from medicine to micro-machinery, for those on earth. Development of space will give us a growing economic resource and a source of new scientific discoveries. We look toward our country’s return to the moon and to completion of the International Space Station, not just as a unique orbiting laboratory but also a framework for world cooperation in pursuit of expanding human knowledge.
Those and other ventures require leadership now lacking at the White House. The Democrat Party approaches space issues with a confined vision and misplaced appropriations, encouraging inefficient investments and pork barrel spending. Bill Clinton gives lip service to our space program but denies it crucial resources. A Republican president and a Republican Congress will work together to make space an American frontier again. We will develop the Reusable Launch Vehicle, promote markets for commercial space launch services, and push technology to its creative limits. Commercial space development holds the key to expanding our aerospace industry and strengthening our technology base, but it can be promoted only by removing unnecessary and artificial regulatory, legal, and tax barriers.
Space exploration and exploitation are a matter of national security. Our Armed Forces already rely on space assets to support their operations on earth, and space technology will rapidly become more critical to successful military operations. Space is the ocean of tomorrow, and we cannot allow its domination by another power. We must ensure that America can work and prosper there, securely and without outside influence. A new Republican team will secure the high frontier for peace on earth and for unlimited human opportunity.
America stands on the brink of a new century. After victory in the “long twilight struggle” against Soviet Communism, Americans can feel justifiably proud of the role they played in defeating history’s most corrupt and predatory empire. The end of the Cold War has not spelled the end of history, but it has instead unleashed forces contained for nearly fifty years of superpower confrontation. Today America faces new challenges and new threats to our vital interests which can only be protected by our continued engagement in the world. Our nation must resist the temptation to turn inward and neglect the exercise of American leadership and our proper role in the world. Will the 21st Century confer new opportunities and new benefits on America, or will it prove to be an era of weakness and decline? This will depend on whether we have a strong, decisive leader like Bob Dole who will protect Americans at home and abroad and vigorously pursue the nation’s interests around the globe.
The U.S. Constitution, the finest document for human governance ever devised, establishes the mission of providing for the common defense as a chief purpose of the federal government, in order to secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity. The president’s primary constitutional duty and most sacred responsibility is the role of Commander-in-Chief. Above all else, he must be able to ensure that the American people and our interests are defended. That requires strong, combat ready military forces and a sound foreign policy. If the President fails in this office, then America’s freedom, independence, and prosperity will be jeopardized, and all other issues – domestic and economic – become moot.
The bravery, skill, and sacrifice of America’s fighting forces; the dedication, industry, and ingenuity of the American people; the superiority of U.S. technology; and the abundance of America’s wealth and resources are sufficient to overcome any foreign threat or challenge. But these gifts are cause for gratitude and humility, not complacency. And these national treasures can be used to safeguard the nation effectively in a time of volatile change only if genuine leadership, wisdom, discernment, courage, and honor are present in the Commander-in-Chief and in the officials he or she appoints to critical national security posts. With such a president at the helm, America will know a new birth of freedom, security, and prosperity. And this nation, and the benefits it has bestowed upon mankind throughout our history, shall not perish from the earth.
As we begin a new era and a new millennium, we deem it essential to reaffirm the truths of the Declaration of Independence:
That all men are created equal;
That they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness;
That government derives its just powers only from the consent of the governed.
We close this platform with the wisdom of our forefathers who had the courage to set their names to the Declaration of Independence as they too began a new era. Like them, we appeal to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions. With a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we pledge to each other and to the American people an unfaltering commitment to restore to America a deep respect for the values of human freedom.