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The Friday Faxline

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The Friday Faxline
Issue 375, September 24, 2004

House, Senate approve middle class tax relief
H.R. 1308, the Working Families Tax Relief Act of 2004, passed both the House and the Senate this week with broad bipartisan support. The bill includes extensions of previously passed tax relief including: relief from the marriage penalty, the expansion of the 10 percent tax bracket, and the increase in the child tax credit. All of these provisions directly affect working families. According to the Joint Committee on Taxation the bill, once signed into law, will reduce taxes an average of $530 for 94 million taxpayers.

Senate committee approves wireless privacy bill
The Senate Commerce Committee this week passed its version of the Wireless 411 Privacy Act which I introduced in the House last year. The bill, as amended, would require that all cell phone users receive an opportunity to "opt in" to a directory assistance database currently under development by the wireless industry. The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Telecommunications will hold a hearing on my legislation next Wednesday.

Louisiana voters overwhelmingly approve marriage protection measure
Louisiana voters overwhelmingly approved a state constitutional amendment to protect marriage this week. The amendment received 78 percent of the vote in balloting last weekend. Louisiana follows a string of states whose voters have overwhelmingly approved similar measures in California (61 percent), Nebraska (70 percent), Missouri (71 percent), and Hawaii (69 percent). Immediately after Louisiana's vote rumors of legal challenges were floated in the media. With twelve states having similar measure on ballots in November and the House of Representatives scheduled to vote on the Marriage Protection Amendment next Thursday, the protection of the family should be top issue in November.

House rebukes courts for pledge rulings
The House this week passed, with my support, the Pledge Protection Act, which removes the question of the Pledge of Allegiance's constitutionality from Federal courts. Passage of the plan in the House is an important step toward safeguarding the free-exercise rights, guaranteed by the First Amendment, of the overwhelming majority of Americans who believe "under God" should remain in the Pledge of Allegiance. It is also an effective check on the power of the court when it abuses its power of judicial review.

Quote of the Week
"For the skeptics who do not understand the Iraqi people, they do not realize how decades of torture and repression feed our desire for freedom. At every step of the political process to date, the courage and resilience of the Iraqi people has proved the doubters wrong. They said we would miss January deadline to pass the interim constitution. We proved them wrong. They warned that there could be no successful handover of sovereignty by the end of June. We proved them wrong. A sovereign Iraq-Iraqi government took over control two days early. They doubted whether a national conference could be staged this August. We proved them wrong. Despite intimidation and violence, over 1,400 citizens-a quarter of them women-from all regions and from every ethnic, religious and political grouping in Iraq elected a national council. And I pledge to you today we will prove them wrong again over the elections."

• Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, 9/23/04, in a speech to Congress.

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