Wednesday, September 16, 1998
With the delivery of the report of the independent counsel to Capitol Hill this week, the House of Representatives lifts a grave weight onto its shoulders.
It is painful for the nation to have any President's activities called into question to this extent. However, President Clinton's actions have triggered an investigative process which must be followed under our Constitution and the independent counsel statute as reauthorized by Congress and President Clinton himself in 1993.
Upon completion of the investigation, the law requires that the independent counsel report to the House any "substantial and credible information... that may constitute grounds for impeachment." No provision in law exists to provide the report first to the President. The House Judiciary Committee under established principles will now consider the report and provide recommendations to the House for any action.
After careful consideration of the content of the report, any vote I cast will reflect a decision based on the evidence and our nation's laws and Constitution.
Despite the events surrounding this investigation, Congress continues to address the issues that are important to our nation. Particularly at this time, I think it is important to focus on the fact that this Congress has been one of the most progressive and productive in history.
In 1995, the Congressional Budget Office projected a $3.1 trillion deficit in spending for a ten-year period (1995-2005). Congress balanced the budget for the first time in 30 years, and enacted other reforms to create a $1.6 trillion predicted budget surplus (1998-2008). Congress passed $94 billion in tax relief, enacted welfare reform with welfare rolls falling at the rate of 6,000 recipients per day nationwide, passed Health Care Reform, preserved Medicare through 2010, and restructured and reformed the IRS. We are not slowing down.
In the remaining legislative month of this Congress, we will address several remaining critical issues. We will pass another in a series of tax relief measures for American families, seniors, farmers, and small businesses.
The Ways and Means Committee, of which I am a member, plans to consider legislation soon that provides $70 billion to $80 billion in tax cuts over the next five years. The tax bill seeks to reduce the marriage penalty tax, reduce tax liabilities for farmers, let seniors earn more outside income without losing Social Security benefits, and accelerate the time frame for allowing the self-employed to deduct 100 percent of their health care expenses. Legislation dealing with drug use and education will be addressed as well.
Congress is completing the appropriations process prior to the end of the current fiscal year. We are committed to ensuring that there is no government shutdown attributable to any Congressional action.
We have many important issues to address in the coming month, and I will continue to work diligently to reflect the priorities of the citizens of the Third District of Georgia.