Friday Faxline: Issue 514
Amendment protecting freedom of speech and press passes the House
Earlier this week, the second-ranking Senate Democrat, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), told The Hill newspaper, "It's time to reinstitute the Fairness Doctrine." Durbin's comments put him in line with other leading Democrats who have recently indicated an interest in dusting off this decades-old government regulation that requires radio stations to devote equal time to all sides of controversial issues. Many on both sides of the aisle see this as a limitation on free speech being sold as "fairness." Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN), a former talk radio show host, offered an amendment to a bill this week that would prevent funds in the bill from being used by the Federal Communications Commission to impose the Fairness Doctrine on broadcasters. Despite being opposed by several member of the Democratic leadership, the amendment won broad bipartisan support overall, passing 309-115.
Bush nominates Chairman and Vice Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff
On Thursday, President Bush nominated Navy Admiral Michael Mullen to replace Marine General Peter Pace as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the nation's highest ranking military officer. As Joint Chiefs Chairman, Admiral Mullen will serve as the President's principal military advisor and have broad oversight of Pentagon operations. Admiral Mullen currently serves as Chief of Naval Operations and will have to be confirmed by the Senate before taking over for General Pace. Bush also appointed Marine General James Cartwright to serve as Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Both men have long and distinguished records of service to our nation and will be counted on to play important roles in fighting the war on terror.
Amendment to strip funding for needle exchange program is defeated
On Thursday, the House voted on legislation that provides significant federal funding for the District of Columbia. In crafting the bill, Democrats did away with a longstanding provision preventing tax dollars from going to programs that provide clean needles to drug addicts. Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN) offered an amendment to restore this sensible funding restriction, but it was defeated by a vote of 208-216. The Washington Post reports that the District of Columbia has room in its detoxification facilities to treat just 80 of the estimated 60,000 addicts living in the city. It seems to me that the tax dollars we devote to this problem would be much better spent expanding treatment facilities that help people get off drugs, not on needle programs that enable people to remain addicted.
Bush plans to appoint special envoy to OIC
President Dwight D. Eisenhower attended the Dedication Ceremony of the Islamic Center of Washington on June 28, 1957, to demonstrate America's respect for the Islamic faith. In a similar gesture of goodwill, President Bush this week attended the rededication of the Center and announced that he will appoint a Special Envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), an inter-governmental organization dedicated to strengthening political, economic, social, cultural, and scientific cooperation among its 57 member states. The Special Envoy will represent America's views and values and will work to demonstrate to the wider Islamic world our interest in respectful dialogue and continued friendship. I believe this has the potential to produce positive outcomes. We can and should remain vigilant in the war on radical Islamic terrorism, while also reaching out and building relationships with moderate, peaceful voices in the Muslim world.
Quote of the Week
"This is probably the best-played game in the last 9 or 10 years. I'm just glad we got three more runs."
- Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), commenting on the Republicans' 5-2 win in the annual Congressional Baseball game, played Tuesday at RFK stadium in Washington. The game raised approximately $75,000 for the Washington Literacy Council and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington.