Moore sings same refrain
The Democrats may have taken control of Congress, but Rep. Dennis Moore is still singing the same song.
Just as Moore's choice to end his talk last Thursday before the De Soto Chamber of Commerce with the "This Land is Your Land" he sung with the accompaniment of Sen. Pat Roberts and Gov. Kathleen Sebelius at the ceremony 18 months ago marking the transfer of the Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant, the message Moore brought remained consistent.
Speaking in De Soto for the first time as a member of the House of Representative's majority party, Moore touched on issues that have pre-occupied him in the past -- the exploding national debt, bi-partisanship, protecting Social Security and finding a way out of Iraq.
During a recent visit with President George Bush as part of the four-man leadership of the Blue Dog Democrats, Moore said he related the group's messages of fiscal restraint and bi-partisanship to the president.
An example, Moore said, was the future of the estate tax. The administration wants it eliminated, a move that would add to the national debt. The Lenexa Democrat said he supported a measure that would protect "99 percent" of estates from the tax and thus protect family farms and small businesses.
"We just have to work together," he said. "It doesn't have to be all or nothing."
In a move to get a grip on the $8.8 trillion national debt, House Democratic leadership has reinstituted a pay-go policy that required all new programs and tax cuts to be revenue neutral, Moore said. That was the policy before 2002, but he said Republican leadership applied it only to new program proposals.
After his address at the FCB Bank, Moore said the same approach could help in Iraq. There were ways Congress and the administration work together to communicate to the Iraqi government and citizens that they had to become more responsible for their own security or face the removal of America forces, Moore said.
In his speech, Moore had said he agreed with the president's opposition to setting a deadline for withdrawal -- an action Bush has opposed out of fear it would encourage insurgents. But the congressman added the military, which was successful in its mission to remove Saddam Hussein from power, couldn't transform Iraq. That would require political and diplomatic solutions, he said.
Moore called for a special envoy such as Colin Powell to deliver the tough message that it was time for Iraqi government and people to become responsible for its own security.
"We saved the Iraqi people from Saddam Hussein, but we can't save the Iraqi people from the Iraqi people," he said.
Moore has had a number of meetings in the last month in the 3rd Congressional District on the No Child Left Behind Act, which is up for reauthorization this year. From those, Moore said he supported changes to the act that would make it more palatable for those districts with large numbers of special-needs and non-English-speaking students, he said.
He hoped there would be support in Congress for a bill he introduced that would allow school districts to exempt themselves from the bill's consequences until it was funded at the level Congress promised when it was passed in 2001.
After the meeting, Moore said he didn't know if his constituents expected more from him as a member of the majority party in Congress but he did. Specifically, he hoped legislation he had proposed would be passed.
That would require bi-partisan support, Moore said. But he said that was true of all significant legislation because most people are in the middle of the political spectrum.