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February 24, 1989 - Image 28

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-02-24

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

I INSIDE WASHINGTON

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Security
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$1995* a month.

Proposed Bills Won't Control
Spread Of Chemical Weapons

JAMES D. BESSER

Washington Correspondent

T

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he hottest topic on cap-
itol Hill in the early
days of the new Con-
gress is the spread of
chemical weapons. But ac-
cording to some experts, the
growing pile of proposed
legislation may be missing
the mark as this country
struggles to find ways to limit
the menace.
Currently, a Senate effort
sponsored by Sen. Claiborne
P -
"
Jesse Helms
• -,er, with
the
— ..J-s would
that actual-
ly use chemical weapons.
Also on the agenda is a bill
by Sen. Robert Dole (R-Kan.)
designed to punish countries
producing chemical weapons
and the suppliers of the raw
materials. And Rep. Chuck
Schumer (D-N.Y.) is in the
early stages of crafting a bill
to get at countries producing
these weapons through sanc-
tions on banks providing the
funding.
But these efforts are only
the first step in a process that

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28

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 1989

few experts believe will
significantly slow the pro-
liferation of easy-to-acquire
chemical technologies.
"If you look at the history
of controlling technologies, all
of these efforts are a bit
unrealistic," said Shoshana
Bryen, director of the Jewish
Institute for National Secur-
ity Affairs. "The bills
currently under consideration
probably should be passed,
because it's important for us
to go on the record. But we
shouldn't imagine that they
will stop production, or make
it more difficult to get the raw
materials."

Dole: bill to punish.

House staffers acknowledg-
ed some of Bryen's concerns
about the difficulty of con-
trolling chemical warfare
technology. But the flurry of
legislation, they said, shows
that Congress has finally
awakened to the rapid spread
of these weapons of mass
destruction.

Domestic Topics
To Be Focus
For Lowey

Although she hasn't even
had a chance to fill the
bookcases in her tiny Capitol
Hill office, Rep. Nita Lowey, a
Westchester, N.Y., Democrat,
is already the subject of active
speculation in Jewish poli-
tical circles
Lowey is the newest addi-
tion to the Jewish congres-
sional delegation and one of
only two Jewish women to
serve in the House.
"Obviously, Israel is very
important to me," she said in
a recent interview. "But the
history of Jewish involvement
in the community has always
focused on domestic issues.
I've always been involved in
these issues; I began as a
volunteer with Jewish
organizations, and I see my
role in Congress as a con-
tinuation of this."
Lowey mentioned the cur-
rent push for federal child-
care legislation as a priority
for her first year in Congress.
Currently, a number of Jew-
ish groups are working to iron
out church-state problems in
the Act for Better Child Care
bill, a measure Lowey in-
dicated she will support in
some form.

Hamilton Urges
'Earmarking' Policy
Be Abolished

The House is edging closer

to a showdown on the ques-
tion of "earmarking" —the
process Congress uses to
designate certain foreign aid
money to specific countries
and programs, most notably
to Israel and Egypt.
Last week, Rep. Lee
Hamilton (D-Ind.) delivered
his long-awaited ad hoc com-
mittee report on foreign aid to
the members of the Foreign
Affairs Committee.
Hamilton's report recom-
mends a system in which
Congress develops general
foreign aid guidelines — but
then allows the professionals
at the State Department to
work out the details.
In practical terms, this
could significantly reduce the
impact of the pro-Israel corn-
munity on the foreign aid pro-
cess, since pro-Israel strength
is concentrated heavily on
Capitol Hill.
According to Capitol Hill in-
siders, Hamilton dropped his
bombshell last week — taking
care to keep advance word of
his proposals from leaking to
some of Israel's staunchest
supporters on the committee.
Congress, according to sev-
eral sources, is in an uncom-
fortable position as the
debate heats up. There is a
widespread consensus that
earmarking funds causes
serious distortions in the way
foreign aid is used as an in-
strument of broad U.S. foreign
policy goals.
At the same time, there is
agreement that earmarking
serves a useful function in
terms of this country's
strategic interests in the nar-
row arena of the Middle East.
And there's, a political
angle, as well. Earmarking
for smaller projects is an im-
portant political tool for many
congressmen. "Take away
their ability to earmark, and
you take away political
power," said one legislative
aid in the thick of the battle.
"Congress is not too keen on
giving up power."

Administration
Gives Congress
Arab Wish List

To absolutely nobody's sur-
prise, the administration has
fired the first shots in what is
expected to be a slogging bat-
tle over arms sales to Arab
nations.
And, as usual, the Arab
wish-list represented the
opening act in a delicately
choreographed ballet between
Congress and the administra-

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