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October 30, 1992 - Image 74

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1992-10-30

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

Great College Football Without End!

On Capitol Hill: Top win — loan guarantees; worst loss — inaction on Religious
Freedom Restoration Act.

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Heads & Tails
In 102nd Congress

Jews won many battles in the Congress that just
ended. And they loost almost as many.

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s legislators stag-
gered across the
finish line in the last
moments of the 102nd Con-
gress, Jewish lobbyists be-
gan adding up their wins
and losses. The results of
that assessment were decid-
edly mixed.
Perhaps the major item on
the plus side was that Con-
gress passed —with barely a
whimper — legislation pro-
viding $10 billion in loan
guarantees for Israel.
Leading the defeats was
Congress' failure to pass the
Religious Freedom Restora-
tion Act. This would have
reversed a 1990 Supreme
Court decision that has the
potential to restrict or, even,
outlaw religious practice.
Surprisingly, the sudden
popularity of the loan guar-
antees in this election year
helped keep afloat the entire
foreign operations package.
The package included some
of the administration's
much-desired aid to the for-
mer Soviet Union.
Language in the final
measure urged an end to the
Arab boycott, and provided
funding for a cooperative
development program be-
tween Israeli scientists and
scientists from eastern Eu-

A

rope and the former USSR,
improved arrangements for
Israel to tap American mili-
tary supplies, and several
Middle East regional devel-
opment programs.
The measure also gives
the president considerable
flexibility regarding when
and how to release the guar-
antees. As the loan guaran-
tee fight unfolded, pro-Israel
legislators, remembering
how the administration
dragged its feet about
releasing $400 million in
housing loan guarantees
several years ago, intended
to craft a bill that would
give the president as little
latitude as possible.
But in the interests of
quick passage, pro-Israel
legislators avoided a fight
over presidential discretion.
Most pro-Israel activists are
confident that the recent
positive turn in U.S.-Israeli
relations and continuing
congressional scrutiny will
offset any problems caused
by the presidential discre-
tion.
The biggest disappoint-
ment of the session was
Congress' failure to act on
the Religious Freedom Res-
toration Act (RFRA). The
bill was the top domestic

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