News

SENATE EXPECTED TO VOTE THIS WEEK ON ALBRIGHT, COHEN

USIA CONGRESSIONAL REPORT, TUESDAY, JANUARY 21
(Albright/Cohen, Senate legislative agenda (450)

The Senate is scheduled to vote January 22 on the nomination of Madeleine Albright to be secretary of state, Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott of Missouri announced January 21 at a Capitol Hill news conference.

The Foreign Relations Committee unanimously approved the nomination January 20.

Lott said he also expects the Senate this week to vote on another member of Clinton's foreign policy team -- Bill Cohen, the retired Republican senator from Maine -- as secretary of defense.

The Senate Armed Services Committee has scheduled a hearing on his nomination January 22 and the full Senate is expected to take it up on January 23, Lott said.

Lott praised both nominees. "We feel that Madeleine Albright was a good selection to be at the State Department," he said. "We assume that that vote will be overwhelming if not unanimous. We think the same is true with Bill Cohen. Bill Cohen is a Republican. He is our Senate colleague. We were pleased that he was selected. We think he will be a credit to the Department of Defense, where by the way, I think there are some real problems. And I hope the President will take heed of his good advice. So we think the two of them will pass easily this week."

REPUBLICANS ANNOUNCE SENATE AGENDA

Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott announced January 21 the Senate's agenda for this session of Congress.

The legislative schedule focuses predominantly on domestic issues, although it includes a measure to set up a national missile defense system that the Republicans had proposed in the last Congress.

"We think that if the American people really knew, really knew that we were defenseless against a rogue missile attack, they would be irate, and that this is a minimal protection that we should provide in the future for the American people," Lott said.

The first bill introduced, Lott said, would be S.J. Res. 1, the balanced budget constitutional amendment.

He said the Republicans want "to improve the quality of life of all Americans....What can we do to make sure that all Americans have a better opportunity to participate in the American dream? How can we improve the quality of life without dictates from the Washington bureaucracy?"

Other items to be dealt with early in the session, he said, include legislation for family tax relief, an omnibus crime control bill, a family-friendly workplace act, product liability reform, a ban on partial-birth abortions, legislation to accelerate cleanup of toxic waste areas and legislation to deal with juvenile crime.
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