1988 Republican Party Platform
(35,849 words, 124 pages)
An election is about the future, about change. But it is also about the values we will carry with us as we journey into tomorrow and about continuity with the best from our past.
On the threshold of a new century, we live in a time of unprecedented technological, social, and cultural development, and a rapidly emerging global economy. This election will bring change. The question is: Will it be change and progress with the Republicans or change and chaos with the Democrats?
Americans want leadership to direct the forces of change, on America's terms, guided by American values. The next stage of the American experiment will be a new dynamic partnership in which people direct government and government empowers people to solve their own problems and to have more choices in their lives.
In 1984, we said, "From freedom comes opportunity; from opportunity comes growth; from growth comes progress,"
In 1988, we reaffirm that truth. Freedom works. This is not sloganeering, but a verifiable fact. It has been abundantly documented during the Reagan-Bush Administration in terms of real jobs and real progress for individuals, families, and communities urban and rural. Our platform reflects on every page our continuing faith in the creative power of human freedom.
Defending and expanding freedom is our first priority. During the last eight years, the American people joined with the Reagan-Bush Administration in advancing the cause of freedom at home and around the world. Our platform reflects George Bush's belief that military strength, diplomatic resoluteness, and firm leadership are necessary to keep our country and our allies free.
Republicans know the United States is a nation of communities --churches, neighborhoods, social and charitable organizations, professional groups, unions and private and voluntary organizations in city, suburb, and countryside. It is We, the people, building the future in freedom. It is from these innumerable American communities, made up of people with good heads and good hearts, that innovation, creativity, and the works of social justice and mercy naturally flow and flourish. This is why George Bush and all Republicans believe in empowering people and not bureaucracies.
At the very heart of this platform is our belief that the strength of America is its people: free men and women, with faith in God, working for themselves and their families, believing in the inestimable value of every human being from the very young to the very old, building and sustaining communities, quietly performing those "little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and love" that make up the best portion of our lives, defending freedom, proud of their diverse heritages. They are still eager to grasp the future, to seize life's challenges and, through faith and love and work, to transform them into the valuable, the useful, and the beautiful.
This is what the American people do, quietly, patiently, without headlines, as a nation of communities, every day. This is the continuing American revolution of continuity and change.
This is the American people's true miracle of freedom. It is to them that we dedicate this platform.
Jobs, Growth, and Opportunity for All
America again leads the world, confident of our abilities, proud of our products, sure of our future, the pacesetter for all mankind. Moving toward the threshold of the 21st century, the American people are poised to fulfill their dreams to a degree unparalleled in human history.
Our nation of communities is prosperous and free. In the sixth year of unprecedented economic expansion, more people are working than ever before; real family income has risen; inflation is tamed. By almost any measure, Americans are better off than they were eight years ago. The Reagan Revolution has become a Republican renaissance. Our country's back --back in business and back on top again.
Government didn't work this economic wonder. The people did. Republicans got government out of the way, off the backs of households and entrepreneurs, so the people could take charge. Once again our people have the freedom to grow. From that freedom come prosperity and security.
From freedom comes opportunity; from opportunity comes growth; from growth comes progress.
Freedom is not an abstract concept. No, freedom is the inescapable essence of the American spirit, the driving force which makes Americans different from any other people on the face of the globe.
The restoration of our country's tradition of democratic capitalism has ushered in a new age of optimistic expansion. Based on free enterprise, free markets, and limited government, that tradition regards people as a resource, not a problem. And it works.
On every continent, governments are beginning to follow some degree of America's formula to cut tax rates, loosen regulation, free the private sector, and trust the people.
Remember the Carter-Mondale years:
Taxes skyrocketed every year as the Democrats' inflation pushed everyone into higher tax brackets.
Prices spiraled, financially strangling those people least able to keep up. This was heightened by the spending mania of a Democrat-controlled Congress. Savings plunged as prices rose. A dollar saved in 1977 was worth only half by 1981.
21.5 percent interest rates --levels not seen before or since --placed the basic needs of life beyond the means of many American families.
The Democrats threatened workers, investors, and consumers with "industrial policies" that centralized economic planning.
Joblessness eroded the earnings and dignity of millions under the Democrat Administration.
The number of poor households grew dramatically during the Democrats' years in power.
Economic stagnation caused by the Democrats' policies made it harder to find a job, get a promotion, buy a home, raise a family, or plan for old age.
In addition to all of these problems, the Democrats were telling us that there was something wrong with America and something wrong with its people.
Something was terribly wrong, but not with the people. A half-century of destructive policies, pitting Americans against one another for the benefit of the Democrats' political machine, had come to a dead end. The Democrats couldn't find a way out, so the voters showed them the door.
Now the ideological heirs of Carter and Mondale are trying again to sell the public a false bill of goods. These liberals call America's prosperity an illusion. They fantasize our economy is declining. They claim our future is in the hands of other nations. They aren't operating in the real world.
They can't build the future on fear. Americans know that and are constructing their futures on the solid foundation Republicans have already set in place:
We are in the midst of the longest peacetime expansion in our country's history. Where once we measured new businesses in the thousands, we now count millions. These small businesses have helped create more than 17 million well-paying, high-quality new jobs, more than twice the number of jobs that were created during that time in Japan, Canada, and Western Europe combined! Small business has accounted for 80 percent of the jobs created during the recovery. Who says America has lost its competitive edge?
More Americans are working than ever before. Because of Republican pro-growth policies, the unemployment rate has plunged to its lowest level in 14 years.
Since 1983, 3 million people have risen above the government poverty level. The poverty rate is down for the third consecutive year. The Republican economic program has been the most successful war on poverty.
Under a Republican Administration, family incomes are growing at the fastest pace recorded in 15 years.
Under Republican leadership, tax reform removed 6 million low-income people from the income tax rolls and brought financial relief to tens of millions more.
The typical family is now paying almost $2,000 less per year in income taxes than it would if the Democrats' antiquated income tax system of the 1970s were still in place.
The Carter' "misery index" --the sum of the inflation and unemployment rates --is half of what it was in 1980. Republican economic policies have turned it into a "prosperity index."
Republicans reduced inflation to one-third of its 1980 level, helping not only average Americans but also low income Americans and elderly Americans on fixed incomes, who spend most of their income on necessities.
Interest rates are lower by nearly two-thirds than under the Democrats in 1980.
Exports are booming. World sales create local jobs!
Productivity is rising three times as fast under Republican policies as it did during the late 1970s.
Industrial output increased by one-third during the current expansion.
Business investment is increasing 20 percent faster, in real terms, than before the Republican economic resurgence.
The manufacturing sector is now accounting for 23 percent of GNP. U.S. manufacturing jobs have increased overall since 1982. The Democrats are wrong about America losing its industrial base, except in Massachusetts, where the Democrat governor of that State has presided over a net decline of 94,000 manufacturing jobs.
This is not a portrait of a people in decline. It is the profile of a can-do country, hopeful and compassionate, on the move. It is America resurgent, renewed, revitalized by an idea: the belief that free men and women, caring for families and supporting voluntary institutions in a nation of communities, constitute the most powerful force for human progress.
In 1980, Ronald Reagan and George Bush called upon us all to recover from a failed political system the power tightly belonging to the people. Now we call upon our fellow citizens, at the bicentennial of our Constitution, in the words of its preamble, to "secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity" by opening new vistas of opportunity.
These "blessings of liberty" --the chance to make a decent living, provide for the family, buy a home, give children a superior education, build a secure retirement, help a new generation reach farther and build higher than we were able to --these are the goals that George Bush and the Republican Party seek for every American.
But this prosperity is not an end in itself. It is a beginning. It frees us to grow and be better than we are, to develop things of the spirit and heart. This is the direction in which George Bush will lead our country. It is prosperity with a purpose.
The Republican Party puts the creation of jobs and opportunity first. In our 1980 and 1984 platforms, we promised to put Americans back to work by restoring economic growth without inflation. We delivered on our promise:
Small business entrepreneurs have led the way in creating new job opportunities, particularly for women, minorities, and youths.
Over 17 million new jobs have been created.
More than 60 percent of these new jobs since 1982 are held by women.
More Americans are working now than at any time in our history.
The unemployment rate is at its lowest level in 14 years.
Statistics show that the great majority of the jobs we have created are full-time, quality jobs, paying more than $20,000 per year.
Job growth for minority and ethnic Americans has been even more impressive:
Minority workers have been finding jobs twice as fast as others.
Black unemployment has been cut almost in half since 1982. Black Americans gained 2.3 million new jobs in the last few years.
Black teen unemployment is at its lowest level in 15 years.
Sales from the top 100 black firms rose 15 percent between 1982 and 1986. The 7.9 percent growth rate for all black businesses compares to an overall rate of 5 percent for all business.
Family incomes of Asian-Americans rank among the highest of all ethnic groups in the United States.
Hispanic employment increased nearly three times as fast as for all civilian workers. More Hispanics are at work now than at any time since record-keeping began.
We will use new technologies, such as computer data bases and telecommunications, to strengthen and streamline job banks matching people who want to work with available jobs.
We advocate incentives for educating, training, and retraining workers for new and better jobs --through programs like the Job Training Partnership Act, which provides for a public/private partnership --as our country surges ahead.
The best jobs program --the one that created more than 17 million jobs since 1982 --is lower taxes on people. We believe that every person who wants a job should have the opportunity to get a job. We reject the notion that putting more Americans to work causes inflation. The failure of government make-work programs proves that jobs are created by people in a free market.
Opportunity for All
With its message of economic growth and opportunity, the GOP is the natural champion of blacks, minorities, women and ethnic Americans. We urge Republican candidates and officials at all levels to extend to minority Americans everywhere the historic invitation for full participation in our party.
A free economy helps defeat discrimination by fostering opportunity for all. That's why real income for black families has risen 14 percent since 1982. It's why members of minority groups have been gaining jobs in the Republican recovery twice as fast as everyone else. Upward mobility for all Americans has come back strong.
We are the party of real social progress. Republicans welcome the millions of forward-looking Americans who want an "opportunity society," not a welfare state. We believe our country's greatest resource is its people --all its people. Their ingenuity and imagination are needed to make the most of our common future. So we will remove disincentives that keep the less fortunate out of the productive economy:
Families struggling near the poverty line are always hurt most by tax increases. Six million poor have been removed from the tax rolls in the 1986 Tax Reform Act --the largest income transfer to lower-income Americans since the early 1970s. We will continue to reduce their burden.
We advocate a youth training wage to expand opportunities and enable unskilled young people to enter the work force.
As an alternative to inflationary --and job-destroying --increases in the minimum wage, we will work to boost the incomes of the working poor through the Earned Income Tax Credit, especially for earners who support children. This will mean higher take-home pay for millions of working families.
We will reform welfare to encourage work as the ticket that guarantees full participation in American life.
We will undertake a long overdue reform of the unemployment insurance program to reward workers who find new jobs quickly.
We insist upon the right of Americans to work at home. The Home Work Rule, banning sale of certain items made at home, must go. It idles willing workers, prevents mothers from working and caring for their children in their own homes, limits the country's output, and penalizes innocent persons to please special interests.
We will fight to end the Social Security earnings limitation for the elderly. It discourages older persons from reentering or remaining in the work force, where their experience and wisdom are increasingly needed. As a first step, we will remove the earnings limitation for those whose income is from child care.
We will continue our efforts, already marked with success, to revitalize our cities. We support, on the federal, State and local levels, enterprise zones to promote investment and job creation in beleaguered neighborhoods.
Our country's 18 million small business entrepreneurs are the superstars of job creation. In the past decade, they created two out of three new jobs. When they are free to invest and innovate, everyone is better off. They are today's pathfinders, the explorers of America's economic future.
Republicans encourage the women and men in small businesses to think big. To help them create jobs, we will cut to 15 percent the current counterproductive capital gains tax. This will foster investment in new and untried ventures, which often are the cutting edge of constructive change. It will also build the retirement value of workers' pension funds and raise revenues for the federal government.
We will increase, strengthen, and reinvigorate minority business development efforts to afford socially and economically disadvantaged individuals the opportunity for full participation in our free enterprise system.
Work place benefits should be freely negotiated by employee-employer bargaining. We oppose government requirements that shrink workers' paychecks by diverting money away from wages to pay for federal requirements. These hidden taxes add to labor costs without paying those who labor. That is the liberals' way of replacing collective bargaining with congressional edicts about what's good for employees. It reduces the number of jobs and dishonestly imposes on others the costs of programs the Congress can't afford.
We call for a reasonable State and federal product liability standard that will be fair to small businesses, including professional and amateur sports, and to all who are in liability contests. We propose to return the fault-based standard to the civil justice system. Jobs are being lost, useful and sometimes lifesaving products are being discontinued, and America's ability to compete is being adversely affected. Reform will lower costs for all and will return fairness to the system for the benefit of everyone. Republicans recognize the basic right of all Americans to seek redress in the courts; however, we strongly oppose frivolous litigation. In addition, we support enactment of fair and balanced reforms of the tort system at the State level.
The remarkable resurgence of small business under the Republican renaissance of the 1980s highlights the key to the future: plant openings, thousands of them in every part of this land, as small businesses lead the way toward yet another decade of compassionate prosperity.
Reducing the Burden of Taxes
The Republican Party restates the unequivocal promise we made in 1984: We oppose any attempts to increase taxes. Tax increases harm the economic expansion and reverse the trend to restoring control of the economy to individual Americans.
We reject calls for higher taxes from all quarters --including "bipartisan commissions." The decisions of our government should not be left to a body of unelected officials.
The American people deserve to know, before the election, where all candidates stand on the question of tax increases. Republicans unequivocally reiterate the no-tax pledge we have proudly taken. While we wouldn't believe the Democrats even if they took the pledge, they haven't taken it.
The crowning economic achievement of the Republican Party under Ronald Reagan and George Bush has been the dramatic reduction in personal income taxes. The Reagan-Bush Administration has cut the top marginal tax rate from 70 percent to 28 percent. We got government's heavy hand out of the wallets and purses of all our people. That single step has sparked the longest peacetime expansion in our history.
We not only lowered tax rates for all. We tied them to the cost of living so congressional Democrats couldn't secretly boost taxes by pushing people into higher brackets through inflation. We took millions of low-income families off the tax rolls, and we doubled the personal exemption for all.
As a result, by 1986 the income tax bill of a typical middle-income family had declined by one-quarter. If the Democrats had defeated our economic recovery program, that family would have paid nearly $6,000 more in taxes between 1982 and 1987. Meanwhile, average Americans and the working poor carry substantially less of the burden. Upper income Americans now pay a larger share of federal taxes than they did in 1980.
Our policies have become the model for much of the world. Through the power of capitalism, governments are rushing to reduce tax rates to save their stagnating economies. This is good for America, for their recovery will make them better trading partners for our own exuberant economy.
Many economists advising the Democrat Party have publicly called for a national sales tax or European-style Value-Added Tax (VAT) which would take billions of dollars out of the hands of American consumers. Such a tax has been imposed on many nations in Europe and has resulted in higher prices, fewer jobs, and higher levels of government spending. We reject the idea of putting a VAT on the backs of the American people.
Republicans know that sustaining the American economic miracle requires a growing pool of private savings. From bank accounts, small stock purchases, and piggy banks, the streams of thrift must flow together and form a mighty tide of capital. That rushing force pushes our society ahead, lifting everyone as it goes. To keep it going:
We support incentives for private savings, such as our deductibility for IRA contributions.
We oppose tax withholding on savings.
To protect savings by ensuring the soundness of our financial system, the federal government must continue to play an active role through its regulatory responsibilities and supervisory duties. We demand stern punishment for those persons, whether in financial institutions or in Congress, whose wheeling and dealing have betrayed the public trust.
Income Taxes Slashed for Typical Families
We will reduce to 15 percent the tax rates for long-term capital gains to promote investment in jobs and to raise revenue for the federal government by touching off another surge of economic expansion. In 1978, we cut the capital gains tax from 49.1 percent to 28 percent; in 1981, it was slashed again to 20 percent. The cuts injected a new vitality into the economy, with the results that revenues from this tax rose 184 percent from 1978 to 1985.
We call for a taxpayers' bill of rights to give everyone simple and inexpensive means to resolve disputes with government. Democrats, using the Massachusetts Revenue Department as a model, intend to squeeze more out of the public by making the IRS more intrusive. Republicans will not tolerate tax cheating by anyone, but we know most Americans responsibly pay their fair share. By restoring their confidence in frugal, limited government, we will enhance compliance with tax laws that are simple and fair.
Today, the dollar is sound again. The Republican economic program brought inflation under control and lowered interest rates. Ten million more American families have bought homes for the first time. Inflation has been forced down from over 13 percent to 4 percent. Interest rates are only half of what they were at the end of the Carter years.
If the Democrats' inflation rates had continued all these years, a family of four would now be paying an average of $200 a month more for food and over $300 a month more for housing. That's the real cost of the Democrats' bad policies.
The Democrats would drag us back to those dreadful years when inflation was robbing workers of their earnings, consumers of their spending power, and families of their savings. Skyrocketing interest rates were stalling the economy and pushing decent housing out of reach for millions.
We can't let them do it again. To sustain the country's economic expansion, confidence in American monetary policy is vital. The possibility of imprudent action by government breeds fear, and that fear can shake the stock and commodity markets worldwide. To keep markets on an even keel, we urge objective Federal Reserve policies to achieve long-run price stability.
This is a success story for the entire nation. Eight years ago, the country was strangling in red tape. Decades of rules and regulations from official Washington smothered enterprise, hindered job creation, and crippled small businesses. Even worse, the federal bureaucracy was spreading its intrusion into schools, religious institutions, and neighborhoods.
At the outset of his Administration, President Reagan asked Vice President Bush to take charge of an unprecedented exercise in liberty: relieving Americans from oppressive and unnecessary regulations and controls. With George Bush's leadership, Republicans turned the tables on the regulators.
We saved consumers tens of billions of dollars in needless regulatory costs that had been added to the price of virtually every product and service.
In banking, we ensured that savers would get a fair return on their savings through market interest rates in place of artificially low rates capped by government.
In energy, transportation, telecommunications, and financial services, we made fundamental changes in the way Americans could do business. We trusted them. We hacked away at artificial rules that stifled innovation, thwarted competition, and drove up consumer prices. Indeed, telecommunications and computer technology innovations have improved economic performance in nearly every American industry and business.
In education, housing, and health care, we reduced the chilling effect of regulation upon the private sector and communities. Despite opposition from liberals in the Congress, we have at least slowed the expansion of federal control.
We turned dozens of narrow programs, full of strings attached, into a few block grants with leeway for State and local administration.
The job isn't over yet. We will resist the calls of Democrats to turn back or eliminate the benefits that reducing regulations has brought to Americans from every walk of life in transportation, finance, energy and many other areas. We want to reduce further the intrusion of government into the lives of our citizens. Consistent with the maintenance of a competitive market place, we are committed to breaking down unnecessary barriers to entry created by regulations, statutes, and judicial decisions, to free up capital for productive investment. Let Democrats trust the federal bureaucracy. Republicans trust the creative energy of workers and investors in a free market.
We are committed to further return power from the federal government to State and local governments, which are more responsive to the public and better able to administer critical public services.
Competition in Public Services
Republicans recognize that the American people, in their families, communities, places of work, and voluntary associations, solve problems better and faster than government. That's why the Republican Party trusts people to deal with the needs of individuals and communities, as they have done for centuries.
In recent decades, however, big government elbowed aside the private sector. In the process, it made public services both expensive and inefficient. The federal government should follow the lead of those cities and States which are contracting out for a wide range of activities.
We resolve to defederalize, denationalize, and decentralize government monopolies that poorly serve the public and waste the taxpayers' dollars. To that end, we will foster competition wherever possible.
We advocate privatizing those government assets that would be more productive and better maintained in private ownership. This is especially true of those public properties that have deteriorated under government control, and of public housing, where residents should have the option of managing their own project. In other areas as well, citizens and employees should be able to become stockholders and managers of government enterprises that would be more efficiently operated by private enterprise. We will not initiate production of goods and delivery of services by the federal government if they can be procured from the private sector.
The best housing policy is sound economic policy. Low interest rates, low inflation rates, and the availability of a job with a good paycheck that makes a mortgage affordable are the best housing programs of all.
That has been the key to the rebirth of housing during the Reagan-Bush Administration. If things had continued the way they were in 1980, the average family today would have to pay over $300 more for housing every month. Instead, we curbed inflation, pulled down interest rates, and made housing affordable to more Americans than ever before. We promoted homeownership by stoking the engines of economic growth. The results have been spectacular.
Mortgage rates have fallen from 17.5 percent to single digits today.
Homeownership has become affordable for more than 10 million additional families.
Our regulatory reform campaign, in cooperation with local government and the housing industry, has pointed the way to lower housing costs through removal of needless rules that inflate prices.
That's only the beginning. We want to foster greater choice in housing for all:
First and foremost, Republicans stand united in defense of the homeowner's deduction for mortgage interest. That separates us from the Democrats who are already planning to raise taxes by limiting its deductibility.
We will continue our successful drive for lower interest rates.
We support the efforts of those in the States who fight to lower property taxes, which strike hardest at the poor, the elderly, families with children, and family farmers.
We support programs to allow low-income families to earn possession of their homes through urban and rural homesteading, cooperative ventures in construction and rehabilitation, and other pioneering projects that demonstrate the vitality of the private sector and individual initiative.
We support the FHA mortgage insurance program, the Government National Mortgage Association, the VA guarantee program, and other programs that enhance housing choices for all Americans.
We pledge to continue to expand opportunities for homeownership and to maintain the strength of savings institutions, including thrifts.
We call on the Departments of Treasury, Housing and Urban Development, Agriculture, and the Federal Home Loan Bank Board to develop incentives for the private sector to bring housing stock foreclosed on by federal agencies back into service for low- and moderate-income citizens.
We call for repeal of rent control laws, which always cause a shortage of decent housing by favoring the affluent with low rents, denying persons with modest incomes access to the housing market.
In public housing, we have turned away from the disasters of the past, when whole neighborhoods became instant slums through federal meddling. We have promoted a long-range program of tenant management with encouraging results already. We pledge to continue that drive and to move toward resident ownership of public housing units, which was initiated under Ronald Reagan and George Bush.
We are determined to replace hand-out housing with vouchers that will make low-income families neighbors in communities, not strangers in projects.
To ensure that federal housing funds assist communities, rather than disrupt them, we advocate merging programs into a block grant at the disposal of States and localities for a wide range of needs.
We reaffirm our commitment to open housing as an essential part of the opportunity we seek for all, The Reagan-Bush Administration sponsored a major strengthening of the federal fair housing law. We will enforce it vigorously and will not allow its distortion into quotas or controls.
Controlling Federal Spending
The Reagan-Bush policies of economic growth have finally turned around the deficit problem. Through Republican-initiated constraints on spending, the federal budget deficit dropped by over 25 percent last year. With the help of the Gramm-Rudman law and a flexible budget freeze, a balanced budget can be expected by 1993.
But the relentless spending of congressional Democrats can undo our best efforts. No president can cause deficits; Congress votes to spend money. The American people must prevent big-spending congressional Democrats from bringing back big budget deficits; we must return both the Senate and the House of Representatives to Republican control for the first time in 36 years.
In 1981, we inherited a federal spending machine that was out of control. During the Carter-Mondale years, spending grew by 13.6 percent annually. We cut that growth rate in half, but the cancer still expands, as it has in some States such as Massachusetts where the budget has increased more than twice as fast as the federal budget. We will not be content until government establishes a balanced budget and reduces its demands upon the productivity and earnings of the American people.
We categorically reject the notion that Congress knows how to spend money better than the American people do. Tax hikes are like addictive drugs. Every shot makes Congress want to spend more. Even with the Republican tax cuts of 1981, revenues have increased by about $50 billion every year. But congressional spending has increased even more! For every $1 Congress takes in in new taxes, it spends $1.25.
That's why congressional Democrats have sabotaged the Republican program to control the federal budget. They refuse to put any reasonable restraints on appropriations. They smuggle through pork barrel deals in huge "continuing resolutions" larded for the special interests. They oppose the balanced budget amendment and all reforms in the bankrupt process. They mock the restraints legally mandated by our Gramm-Rudman budget plan.
Enough is enough. It's time to push through the Republican agenda for budget reform to teach the Congress the kind of financial responsibility that characterizes the American family:
We call for structural changes to control government waste, including a two-year budget cycle, a super-majority requirement for raising taxes, a legislatively enacted line-item veto, individual transmission of spending bills, greater rescission authority for the chief executive and other reforms.
We call for a flexible freeze on current government spending. We insist on the discipline to provide stable funding for important government programs, increasing spending only for true national priorities. We oppose any increase in taxes, so that the economy will continue to expand and so revenues from a growing tax base will reduce the deficit.
We believe the Grace Commission report to eliminate waste, inefficiency, and mismanagement in the federal government must be re-examined; its recommendations should be given a high profile by public policy officials.
We call for a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. If congressional Democrats continue to block it, we urge the States to renew their calls for a constitutional convention limited to consideration of such an amendment.
We will use all constitutional authority to control congressional spending. This will include consideration of the inherent line-item veto power of the president.
Opening Markets Abroad
America's best years lie ahead. Because Republicans have faith in individuals, we welcome the challenge of world competition with confidence in our country's ability to out-produce, out-manage, out-think, and out-sell anyone.
This is the voters' choice in 1988: compete or retreat. The American people and the Republican Party are not about to retreat.
To make the 1990s America's decade in international trade, Republicans will advance trade through strength. We will not accept the loss of American jobs to nationalized, subsidized, protected foreign industries and will continue to negotiate assertively the destruction of trade barriers:
We negotiated a sweeping free trade agreement with Canada, our largest trading partner. Under this agreement, Americans will be able to trade, invest, and prosper, with no barriers to competition and economic growth.
We have sought enforcement of U.S. international trade rights more vigorously than any previous Administration. The Reagan-Bush Administration was the first to self-initiate formal trade actions against unfair foreign market barriers.
We launched the "Uruguay Round" of trade talks to promote a more open trading system and to address new trade problems that stifle world economic progress.
We negotiated long and hard to beat back the most protectionist provisions in trade legislation and produced a bill that focuses on opening markets around the world.
We support multilateral actions to open up foreign markets to U.S. products through the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. We will use GATT as well to deal with problems involving agricultural subsidies, trade in services, intellectual property rights, and economic relations with countries that mismanage their economies by suppressing market forces.
We will not tolerate unfair trade and will use free trade as a weapon against it. To ensure that rapid progress is forthcoming from our work in GATT, we stand ready to pursue bilateral arrangements with nations which share our commitment to free trade. We have begun with the U.S.-Israel and U.S.-Canada free trade agreements. These agreements should be used as a model by the entire Western Hemisphere as it moves toward becoming a free trade zone, a powerhouse of productivity that can spur economic growth throughout the continents. We are prepared to negotiate free trade agreements with partners like the Republic of China on Taiwan and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries if they are willing to open their markets to U.S. products.
The emerging global economy has required American workers and consumers to adapt to far-reaching transformations on every continent. These changes will accelerate in the years ahead as nations with free economic systems rush toward a future of incredible promise. International trade among market economies is the driving force behind an unprecedented expansion of opportunity and income.
Unfortunately, international markets are still restricted by antiquated policies: protective tariffs, quotas, and subsidies. These hinder world trade and hurt everyone, producers and consumers alike. It is the politicians and special interests who use protectionism to cover up their failures and enrich themselves at the expense of the country as a whole.
We propose that the General Accounting Office be required to issue regular statistics on the costs of U.S. trade restrictions to American workers, consumers, and businesses.
The bosses of the Democrat Party have thrown in the towel and abandoned the American worker and producer. They have begun a full-scale retreat into protectionism, an economic narcotic that saps the life out of commerce, closes foreign markets to U.S. producers and growers, and costs American consumers billions of dollars. The Democrats' plans would endanger 200,000 jobs and $8 billion in economic activity in agriculture alone! Over the past year, U.S. exports have expanded by 30 percent. The Democrats would reverse that growth by cowering behind trade barriers.
The bottom line in international trade must be American excellence. Every part of our economy is challenged to renew its commitment to quality. We must redouble our efforts to cut regulation, keep taxes low, and promote capital formation to sustain the advance of science and technology. Changes in both the managing of business and our approach to work, together with a new emphasis on quality and pleasing the customer, are creating a new work place ethic in our country. We will meet the challenges of international competition by know-how and cooperation, enterprise and daring, and trust in a well-trained work force to achieve more than government can even attempt.
International Economic Policy
Eight years ago, Ronald Reagan and George Bush offered visionary leadership to make a clean break with the failed past of international economics.
Our economic success is now acknowledged worldwide. Countries all over the world, even the Soviet Union, are abandoning worn out industrial policy planning by government in favor of the market-oriented policies underlying what foreign leaders call the "American Miracle."
We encouraged the major economic powers to draw greater guidance for their monetary policies from commodity prices. This was an important step toward ensuring price stability, eliminating volatility of exchange rates, and removing excessive trade imbalances.
We support the Administration's efforts to improve coordination among the industrialized nations regarding their basic economic policies as a means of sustaining non-inflationary growth. It is important that we continue and refine efforts to dampen the volatility of exchange rate fluctuations, which have at times impeded improvements in investment and trade. Further, it is important to guard against the possibility of inflation in all currencies by comparing them with a basket of commodities, including gold.
International price stability will set the stage for developing countries to participate in the transforming process of economic growth. We will not turn our backs on the Third World, where Soviet imperialism preys upon stagnation and poverty. The massive debt of some emerging nations not only cripples their progress but also disrupts world trade and finance.
We will use U.S. economic aid, whether bilateral or through international organizations, to promote free market reforms: lower marginal tax rates, less regulation, reduced trade barriers. We will work with developing nations to make their economies attractive to private investment --both domestic and foreign --as the only lasting way to ensure that these nations can secure capital for growth. We support innovations to facilitate repayment of loans, including "debt for equity" swaps. We urge our representatives in all multilateral organizations such as the World Bank to support conditionality with all loans to encourage democracy, private sector development, and individual enterprise. As part of our commitment to the family as the building block of economic progress, we believe decisions on family size should be made freely by each family, and we remain opposed to U.S. funding for organizations involved in abortion.
To dig their way out of debt, those nations must do more than take out additional loans. They need America's greatest export: capitalism. While sharing the pie of prosperity with others, we will teach its recipe. It is this simple: Where democracy and free markets take root, people live better. Where people live better, they produce and trade more. As capitalism spreads throughout the world, more nations are prospering, international commerce is booming, and U.S. trade is breaking records.
But even more important than economic progress is the advance of freedom. Republicans want not only a better life for the people of developing lands; we want a freer and more peaceful future for them, too. Those goals are inextricably linked. It is a case of all or nothing, and we believe that free people can have it all.
From all over the world, capital flows into the United States because of confidence in our future. Direct investment in America creates important economy-wide benefits: jobs, growth, and lower interest rates. We oppose shortsighted attempts to restrict or overly regulate this investment in America that helps our people work, earn, and live better.
Most important, we will lead by example. We will keep the United States a shining model of individual freedom and economic liberty to encourage other peoples of the world to assert their own economic rights and secure opportunity for all.
Strong Families and Strong Communities
Strong families build strong communities. They make us a confident, caring society by fostering the values and character --integrity, responsibility, sharing and altruism --essential for the survival of democracy. America's place in the 21st century will be determined by the family's place in public policy today.
Republicans believe, as did the framers of the Constitution, that the God-given rights of the family come before those of government. That separates us from liberal Democrats. We seek to strengthen the family. Democrats try to supplant it. In the 1960s and 1970s, the family bore the brunt of liberal attacks on everything the American people cherished. Our whole society paid dearly.
It's time to put things together again. Republicans have started this critical task:
We brought fairness to the tax code, removed millions of low income families from the rolls, and cut tax rates dramatically.
We reestablished a pro-family tax system. We doubled the exemption for dependents and protected families from backdoor tax hikes by indexing the exemption to inflation.
We tamed inflation to lower interest rates, protected the savings of the elderly, and made housing more affordable for millions of households.
We fought to reverse crime rates and launched the nation's first all-out war on drug abuse, though there is still much more to do.
We appointed judges who respect family rights, family values, and the rights of victims of crime.
We brought education back to basics, back to parents, and strengthened the principle of local control.
Through President Reagan's historic executive order on the family, we set standards in law for determining whether policies help or hurt the American family.
Republicans have brought hope to families on the front lines of America's social reconstruction. We pledge to fulfill that hope and to keep the family at its proper place at the center of public policy.
Caring for Children
The family's most important function is to raise the next generation of Americans, handing on to them the Judeo-Christian values of Western civilization and our ideals of liberty. More than anything else, the ability of America's families to accomplish those goals will determine the course our country takes in the century ahead.
Our society is in an era of sweeping change. In this era of unprecedented opportunity, more women than ever before have entered the work force. As a result, many households depend upon some form of non-parental care for their youngsters. Relatives, neighbors, churches and synagogues, employers and others in the private sector, are helping to meet the demand for quality care. In the process, we are learning more about the needs of children and about the impact of various forms of care. That knowledge should guide public policy and private options on many issues affecting the way we work and raise our families.
Republicans affirm these commonsense principles of child care:
The more options families have in child care, the better. Government must not constrain their decisions. Individual choice should determine child care arrangements for the family.
The best care for most children, especially in the early years, is parental. Government must never hinder it.
Public policy must acknowledge the full range of family situations. Mothers or fathers who stay at home, who work part-time, or who work full-time, should all receive the same respect and consideration in public policy.
Child care by close relatives, religious organizations, and other community groups should never be inhibited by government programs or policies.
In sum, this is a perfect example of the difference between the two parties. Republicans want to empower individuals, not bureaucrats. We seek to minimize the financial burdens imposed by government upon families, ensure their options, and preserve the role of our traditional voluntary institutions. Democrats propose a new federal program that negates parental choice and disdains religious participation. Republicans would never bar aid to any family for choosing child care that includes a simple prayer.
In returning to our traditional commitment to children, the Republican Party proposes a radically different approach:
Establish a toddler tax credit for pre-school children as proposed by Vice President Bush, available to all families of modest means, to help them support and care for their children in a manner best suited to their families' values and traditions.
Establishment of a plan that does not discriminate against single-earner families with one parent in the home.
Continue to reverse the Democrats' 30-year erosion of the dependent tax exemption. That exemption has been doubled under Republican leadership. This will empower parents to care for their families in a way that public services can never do.
Make the dependent care tax credit available to low-income families with young children.
Eliminate disincentives for grandparents and other seniors to care for children by repealing the earnings limitation for Social Security recipients.
Encourage States to promote child care programs which allow teenage mothers to remain in school.
Promote in-home care --preferred by almost all parents --by allowing annual, instead of quarterly, payments of income taxes by employees and withholding taxes by employers.
Encourage employers, including government agencies, to voluntarily address their employees' child care needs and use more flexible work schedules and job sharing to recognize the household demands upon their work force.
Reform the tort liability system to prevent excessive litigation that discourages child care by groups who stand ready to meet the needs of working parents.
Reform Federal Home Mortgage Association rules to retain mortgage eligibility for homeowners who offer family child care.
Adoption is a special form of caring for children. We recognize the tremendous contributions of adoptive parents and foster parents. The Reagan-Bush Administration has given unprecedented attention to adoption through a presidential task force, whose recommendations point the way toward vastly expanding opportunities for children in need.
Republicans are determined to cut through red tape to facilitate the adoption process for those who can offer strong family life based on traditional values. Trapping minority and special needs children in the foster care system, when there are families ready to adopt these youngsters, is a national disgrace. We urge States to remove obstacles to the permanent placement of foster children and to reform antiquated regulations that make adoption needlessly difficult.
America's children deserve to be free from pornography. We applaud Republicans in the 100th Congress who took the lead to ban interstate dial-a-porn. We endorse legislative and regulatory efforts to anchor more securely a standard of decency in telecommunications and to prohibit the sale of sexually explicit materials in outlets operated on federal property. We commend those who refuse to sell pornographic material. We support the rigorous enforcement of "community standards" against pornography.
Americans are accustomed to miracles in health care. The relentless advance of science, boosted by space age technology, has transformed the quality of health care and broadened the exercise of our compassion. By the year 2000, more than 100,000 Americans will be more than 100 years old. Yesterday's science fiction regularly becomes today's medical routine.
The American people almost lost all that in the 1960s and 1970s, when political demagogues offered quack cures for the ills of our health care system. They tried to impose here the nationalized medicine that was disastrous in other countries.
Republicans believe in reduced government control of health care while maintaining an unequivocal commitment to quality health care:
We fostered competition and consumer choice as the only way to hold down the medical price spiral generated by government's open-ended spending on health programs.
We gave the hospice movement its important role in federal programs.
We launched a national campaign to ensure quality treatment and to prevent abuse in nursing homes.
We led the way to enacting landmark legislation for catastrophic health insurance under Medicare.
We speeded up the regulatory process for experimental drugs for life-threatening illness and loosened import controls to allow greater choice by patients.
We promoted health care through pilot projects in the States. We took extraordinary steps to ensure home health care so that chronically ill children under Medicaid would not have to stay in the hospital.
Republicans will continue the recovery of America's health care system from the Democrats' mistakes of the past:
We will promote continuing innovation to ensure that tomorrow's miracles are affordable and accessible to all. We are encouraged by advances in communications which enable small or isolated facilities to tap the resources of the world' s greatest centers of healing. Many breakthroughs in recent years have dramatically reduced the incidence of surgery and replaced lengthy hospital stays with out-patient treatment.
We will work for continuing progress in providing the most cost-effective, high-quality care.
We will lead the fight for reform of medical malpractice laws to stop the intolerable escalation of malpractice insurance. It has artificially boosted costs for patients, driven many good doctors out of fields such as obstetrics and other high-risk specialties, and made care unavailable for many patients.
We are opposed to the establishment of government mandated professional practice fees and services requirements as a condition of professional licensure or license renewal.
We are committed to avoiding the medical crisis facing Massachusetts --a State for which the American Medical Association observed a "moment of silence" at its annual meeting --a State where the decline in the availability of medical care has reached a dangerous level.
We will continue to seek opportunities for private and public cooperation in support of hospices.
We are committed to improving the quality and financing of long-term care. We will remove regulatory and tax burdens to encourage private health insurance policies for acute or long term care. We will work for convertibility of savings, IRAs, life insurance, and pensions to pay for long term care.
We will encourage the trend in the private sector to expand opportunities for home health care to protect the integrity of the family and to provide a less expensive alternative to hospital stays. We want to ensure flexibility for both Medicare and Medicaid in the provision of services to those who need them at home or elsewhere.
We will foster employee choice in selecting health plans to promote personal responsibility for wellness.
Recognizing that medical catastrophes can strike regardless of age, we empathize with the plight of the thousands of American families with catastrophically ill children and will work toward making catastrophic health care coverage available to our youngest citizens.
Recognizing that inequities may exist in the current treatment of health insurance costs for those who are self-employed, including farmers, we will study ways to more appropriately balance such costs.
We will continue to promote alternative forms of group health care that foster competition and lower costs.
We will make special provision for relief of rural hospitals and health care providers who have been unduly burdened by federal cost containment efforts. The availability of health services, especially during a crisis like the current drought, is essential for rural America.
We will continue generous funding for the National Institutes of Health.
We will hold down Medicaid costs by promoting State pilot programs to give low-income persons the opportunity to secure health insurance. We demand tough penalties against providers who defraud this and other health programs.
We will work to assure access to health care for all Americans through public and private initiatives.
We will promote wellness, especially for the nation's youth. Personal responsibility in behavior and diet will dramatically reduce the incidence of avoidable disease and curb health care costs in decades ahead.
We will call on the Food and Drug Administration to accelerate its certification of technically sound alternatives to animal testing of drugs and cosmetics when considering data regarding product safety and efficacy.
Those who suffer from AIDS, their families, and the men and women of medicine who care for the afflicted deserve our compassion and help. The Reagan-Bush Administration launched the nation's fight against AIDS, committing more than $5 billion in the last five years. For 1989, the President's budget recommends a 42 percent increase in current funding.
We will vigorously fight against AIDS, recognizing that the enemy is one of the deadliest diseases to challenge medical research. Continued research on the virus is vital. We will continue as well to provide experimental drugs that may prolong life. We will establish within the Food and Drug Administration a process for expedited review of drugs which may benefit AIDS patients. We will allow supervised usage of experimental treatments.
We must not only marshal our scientific resources against AIDS, but must also protect those who do not have the disease. In this regard, education plays a critical role. AIDS education should emphasize that abstinence from drug abuse and sexual activity outside of marriage is the safest way to avoid infection with the AIDS virus. It is extremely important that testing and contact tracing measures be carried out and be appropriately confidential, as is the case with the long-standing public health measures to control other communicable diseases that are less dangerous than AIDS.
We will remove barriers to making use of one's own (autologous) blood or blood from a designated donor, and we call for penalties for knowingly donating tainted blood or otherwise deliberately endangering others.
The latency period between infection with the virus and onset of AIDS can be lengthy. People should be encouraged to seek early diagnosis and to remain on the job or in school as long as they are functionally capable.
Healthy Children, Healthy Families
As we strengthen the American family, we improve the health of the nation. From prenatal care to old age, strong family life is the lynchpin of wellness and compassion.
This is especially important with regard to babies. We have reduced infant mortality, but it remains a serious problem in areas where alcohol, drugs, and neglect take a fearful toll on newborns. We will target federal health programs to help mothers and infants get a good start in life. We will assist neighborhood institutions, including religious groups, in reaching out to those on the margins of society to save their children, especially from fetal alcohol syndrome, the major cause of birth defects in this country.
Inadequate prenatal care for expectant mothers is the cause of untold numbers of premature and low birth-weight babies. These newborns start life at severe disadvantage and often require massive health care investments to have a chance for normal childhood. We continue to endorse the provision of adequate prenatal care for all expectant mothers, especially the poor and young.
We hail the way fetal medicine is revolutionizing care of children and dramatically expanding our knowledge of human development. Accordingly, we call for fetal protection, both in the work place and in scientific research.
Many of the health problems of young people today stem from poverty, moral confusion, and family disruption. Republicans are ready to address the root causes of today's youth crisis:
We will assert absolutes of right and wrong concerning drug abuse and other forms of self-destructive behavior.
We will require parental consent for unemancipated minors to receive contraceptives from federally funded family planning clinics.
We support efforts like the Adolescent Family Life program to teach teens the traditional values of restraint and the sanctity of marriage.
We urge all branches of the entertainment and communications industry to exercise greater responsibility in addressing the youth market.
To prepare for tomorrow's expanding opportunities, today's young Americans must be challenged by high values with the support that comes from strong families. That is the surest way to guide them to their own affirmation of life.
Older Americans are both our bridge to all that is precious in our history and the enduring foundation on which we build the future. Young Americans see most clearly when they stand on the shoulders of the past.
After eight years of President Reagan's youthful leadership, older Americans are safer and more secure. In 1980, we promised to put Social Security back on a sound financial footing. We delivered. We established the national commission that developed the plan to restore the system and led the way in enacting its recommendations into law.
Now that Social Security is in healthy shape, congressional Democrats are plotting ways to use its short-term revenue surplus for their own purposes. We make this promise: They shall not do so. We pledge to preserve the integrity of the Social Security trust funds. We encourage public officials at all levels to safeguard the integrity of public and private pension funds against raiding by anyone, in labor, business, or government, such as in Massachusetts where the current Democrat governor has raided $29 million from the State pension reserves to fund his enormous deficit in the State budget.
We will not allow liberal Democrats to imperil the other gains the elderly have made during the Reagan-Bush Administration:
Inflation, the despoiler of household budgets for the aged, has been reduced to less than one-third its peak rate under the last Democrat Administration.
Passage of our anti-crime legislation has helped target resources to fight crime against the elderly, many of whom have been prisoners in their own homes.
As a result of the Republican economic program, the poverty rate for older Americans has declined by 20 percent during the Republican Administration. When the value of non-cash benefits is counted, the poverty rate is the lowest in history: 3 percent.
We dramatically cut estate taxes so surviving spouses will not have to sell off the property they worked a lifetime to enjoy just to pay the IRS.
President Reagan led the Congress in expanding Medicare coverage to include catastrophic health costs.
Effective spending on Medicare has more than doubled. We have, however, saved money for both taxpayers and beneficiaries through reforms in Medicare procedures.
Congressional Republicans have supported reauthorization of the broad range of programs under the Older Americans Act.
The Republican Party reaffirms its long-standing opposition to the earnings test for Social Security recipients. Industrious older persons should not be penalized for continuing to contribute their skills and experience to society.
The 1990s should be the best decade ever for America's older worker. Older Americans will be our natural teachers. In a civilization headed for the stars, they will help us keep our feet on the ground.
Republicans are determined to help the homeless as a matter of ethical commitment, as well as sound public policy. The Reagan-Bush Administration has been at the forefront of the effort:
In 1987, President Reagan signed a $1 billion aid package to help local governments aid the homeless.
In 1988, the federal government will spend $400 million on emergency shelters and medical care alone. Today, a total of 45 federally assisted programs are potentially available to the homeless.
In 1983, we launched an Emergency Food and Shelter Program under the Federal Emergency Management Administration.
The General Services Administration has donated both buildings and equipment for shelters.
In 1985, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) began to lease single-family homes at a nominal rent for use as shelters.
The Department of Agriculture has provided hundreds of millions of dollars worth of surplus food --more than 1.1 billion pounds to soup kitchens and shelters.
The Alcohol, Drug Abuse and Mental Health Administration gives the States about a half-billion dollars a year to offset the lack of outpatient services.
Homelessness demonstrates the failure of liberalism. It is the result of Democrat policies in the 1960s and 1970s that disrupted mental health care, family stability, low-cost housing, and the authority of towns and cities to deal with people in need. Republicans are ready to deal with the root causes of the problem:
Our top priority must be homeless families. As part of an overall emphasis on family responsibility, we will strongly enforce child support laws. We call for development of a model divorce reform law that will adequately safeguard the economic and social interests of mothers and children while securing fairness to fathers in decisions concerning child custody and support.
We will improve safety in federally assisted shelters for the good of all, particularly families.
We will work with State and local governments to ensure that education is available to homeless children. All appropriate federal education and health programs must make provision for the special needs of these youngsters.
We will create, as a national emergency effort, a regulatory reform task force drawn from all levels of government to break through the restrictions that keep 1.7 million housing units unrehabilitated and out of use. We will explore incentives for the private sector to put these housing units back into service.
As detailed elsewhere in this platform, we will advance tenant management and resident ownership of public housing as a proven means of upgrading the living environment of low-income families.
We favor expanding Community Development Block Grants for acquiring or rehabilitating buildings for shelters. We urge work requirements, no matter how modest, for shelter residents so they can retain skills and a sense of responsibility for their future.
Rent controls promise housing below its market cost, but inevitably result in a shortage of decent homes. Our people should not have to underwrite any community which erodes its own housing supply by rent control.
We call upon the courts to cooperate with local officials and police departments in arranging for treatment for persons whose actions disrupt the community or endanger their own or others' safety.
Constitutional Government and Individual Rights
Since its inception, the Republican Party has stood for the worth of every person. On that ground, we support the pluralism and diversity that have been part of our country's greatness. "Deep in our hearts, we do believe":
That bigotry has no place in American life. We denounce those persons, organizations, publications and movements which practice or promote racism, anti-Semitism or religious intolerance.
That the Pledge of Allegiance should be recited daily in schools in all States. Students who learn we are "one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all" will shun the politics of fear.
In equal fights for all. The Reagan-Bush Administration has taken to court a record number of civil fights and employment discrimination cases. We will continue our vigorous enforcement of statutes to prevent illegal discrimination on account of sex, race, creed, or national origin.
In guaranteeing opportunity, not dictating the results of fair competition. We will resist efforts to replace equal rights with discriminatory quota systems and preferential treatment. Quotas are the most insidious form of reverse discrimination against the innocent.
In defending religious freedom. Mindful of our religious diversity, we firmly support the fight of students to engage in voluntary prayer in schools. We call for full enforcement of the Republican legislation that now guarantees equal access to school facilities by student religious groups.
That the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We therefore reaffirm our support for a human life amendment to the Constitution, and we endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment's protections apply to unborn children. We oppose the use of public revenues for abortion and will eliminate funding for organizations which advocate or support abortion. We commend the efforts of those individuals and religious and private organizations that are providing positive alternatives to abortion by meeting the physical, emotional, and financial needs of pregnant women and offering adoption services where needed.
We applaud President Reagan's fine record of judicial appointments, and we reaffirm our support for the appointment of judges at all levels of the judiciary who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life.
That churches, religious schools and any other religious institution should not be taxed. We reject as wrong, bigoted, and a massive violation of the First Amendment the current attempt by the American Civil Liberties Union to tax the Roman Catholic Church or any other religious institutions it targets in the future.
We believe the right of private property is the cornerstone of liberty. It safeguards for citizens everything of value, including their right of contract to produce and sell goods and services. We want to expand ownership to all Americans, for that is the key for individuals to control their own future.
To advance private stewardship of natural resources, we call for a reduction in the amount of land controlled by government, especially in our western States. Private ownership is best for our economy, best for our environment, and best for our communities. We likewise consider water rights a State issue, not a federal one.
We renew our historic commitment to equal rights for women. The Republican Party pioneered the right of women to vote and initiated the rights now embodied in the Equal Pay Act, requiring equal pay for equal work. But legal rights mean nothing without opportunity, and that has been the hallmark of Republican policy. In government, the Reagan-Bush team has broken all records for the advancement of women to the most important positions: 28 percent of the top policy-level appointments went to women. But far more important than what we've done in government is what women have accomplished with the economic freedom and incentives our policies have provided them.
We must remove remaining obstacles to women's achieving their full potential and full reward. That does not include the notion of federally mandated comparable worth, which would substitute the decisions of bureaucrats for the judgment of individuals. It does include equal rights for women who work for the Congress. We call upon the Democrat leadership of the House and Senate to join Republican Members in applying to Congress the civil rights laws that apply to the rest of the nation. Women should not be second-class citizens anywhere in our country, but least of all beneath the dome of the Capitol.
Recognizing that women represent less than 5 percent of the U.S. Congress, only 12 percent of the nation's statewide offices, plus 15 percent of State legislative positions, the Republican Party strongly supports the achievements of women in seeking an equal role in the governing of our country and is committed to the vigorous recruitment, training, and campaign support of women candidates at all levels.
Americans with Disabilities
One measure of our country's greatness is the way it treats its disabled citizens.
Our citizens are the nation's most precious resource. As Republicans, we are committed to ensuring increased opportunities for every individual to reach his or her maximum potential. This commitment includes providing opportunities for individuals with disabilities. The 1980s have been a revolution, a declaration of independence for persons with disabilities, and Republicans have initiated policies which remove barriers so that such persons are more independent.
The most effective way to increase opportunities for such persons is to remove intentional and unintentional barriers to education, employment, housing, transportation, health care, and other basic services. Republicans have played an important role in removing such barriers:
Republicans supported the creation of a new program to provide early intervention services to infants and toddlers with disabilities.
Republicans initiated a supported employment program that allows individuals with severe disabilities to earn competitive wages in integrated work settings, thus, in many instances, creating first-time taxpayers.
Republicans initiated changes in the Social Security Act that now permit individuals with disabilities to work without losing health insurance coverage.
Republicans developed legislation to increase the availability of technology-related assistance for individuals with disabilities, thereby increasing their ability to do things for themselves, others, and their communities.
Republicans have made a sustained commitment to policies that create opportunities for individuals with disabilities to lead productive and creative lives.
Republicans will continue to support such policies:
We recognize the great potential of disabled persons and support efforts to remove artificial barriers that inhibit them from reaching their potential, and making their contributions, in education, employment and recreation. This includes the removal, insofar as practicable, of architectural, transportation, communication and attitudinal barriers.
We support efforts to provide disabled voters full access to the polls and opportunity to participate in all aspects of the political process.
By promoting vigorous economic growth, we will provide incentives for the scientific and technological research that may reverse or compensate for many disabilities.
We pledge to fight discrimination in health care. Following the example of President Reagan, we insist upon full treatment for disabled infants. We find no basis, whether in law or medicine or ethics, for denying care or treatment to any medically dependent or disabled person because of handicap, age, or infirmity.
We will strongly enforce statutory prohibitions barring discrimination because of handicap in any program receiving federal financial assistance.
We will protect the rights established under the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act. We will balance those rights against the public's right to be protected against diseases and conditions which directly threaten the health and safety of others.
We recognize the need to procedural due process rights of persons with disabilities both to prevent their placement into inappropriate programs or settings and to ensure that their rights are represented by guardians or other advocates when necessary.
We endorse policies that give individuals with disabilities the right to participate in decisions related to their education, the right to affect how and where they live and the right to choose or change a job or career.
To further promote the independence and productivity of people with disabilities and their integration into the mainstream of life, the Republican Party supports legislation to remove the bias in the Medicaid program toward serving disabled individuals in isolated institutional settings and ensure that appropriate, community-based services are reimbursable through Medicaid.
We support self-determination for Indian Tribes in managing their own affairs and resources. Recognizing the government-to-government trust responsibility, we will work to end dependency fostered by federal controls. Reservations should be free to become enterprise zones so their people can fully share in America's prosperity. We will work with tribal governments to improve environmental conditions and will ensure equitable participation by Native Americans in federal programs in health, housing, job training and education.
We endorse efforts to preserve the culture of native Hawaiians and to ensure their equitable participation in federal programs that can recognize and preserve their unique place in the life of our nation.
The Right of Gun Ownership
Republicans defend the constitutional right to keep and bear arms. When this right is abused by an individual who uses a gun in the commission of a crime, we call for stiff, mandatory penalties.
The Rights of Workers
We affirm the right of all freely to form, join or assist labor organizations to bargain collectively, consistent with State laws. Labor relations must be based on fairness and mutual respect. We renew our long-standing support for the right of States to enact "Right-to-Work" laws. To protect the political rights of every worker, we oppose the use of compulsory dues or fees for partisan purposes. Workers should not have to pay for political activity they oppose, and no worker should be coerced by violence or intimidation by any party to a labor dispute.
The Republican Party supports legislation to mend the Hobbs Act, so that union officials, like all other Americans, are once again subject to the law's prohibition against extortion and violence in labor disputes.
We also support amendments to the National Labor Relations Act to provide greater protection from labor violence for workers who choose to work during strikes.
The Right to Political Participation
Republicans want to broaden involvement in the political process. We oppose government controls that make it harder for average citizens to be politically active. We especially condemn the congressional Democrats' scheme to force taxpayer funding of campaigns.
Because we support citizen participation in politics, we continue to favor whatever legislation may be necessary to permit American citizens residing in Guam, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, the Northern Marianas Islands, and Puerto Rico to vote for president and vice president in national elections and permit their elected federal delegate to have the rights and privileges --except for voting on the floor --of other Members of Congress.
Puerto Rico has been a territory of the United States since 1898. The Republican Party vigorously supports the right of the United States citizens of Puerto Rico to be admitted into the Union as a fully sovereign State after they freely so determine. Therefore, we support the establishment of a presidential task force to prepare the necessary legislation to ensure that the people of Puerto Rico have the opportunity to exercise at the earliest possible date their right to apply for admission into the Union.
We also pledge that a decision of the people of Puerto Rico in favor of statehood will be implemented through an admission bill that would provide for a smooth fiscal transition, recognize the concept of a multi-cultural society for its citizens, and ensure the right to retain their Spanish language and traditions.
We recognize that the people of Guam have voted for a closer relationship with the United States of America, and we reaffirm our support of their right to improve their political relationship through a commonwealth status.
The Republican Party welcomes, as the newest member of the American family, the people of the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, who became U.S. citizens with President Reagan's 1986 presidential proclamation.
We welcome those from other lands who bring to America their ideals and industry. At the same time, we insist upon our country's absolute right to control its borders. We call upon our allies to join us in the responsibility shared by all democratic nations for resettlement of refugees, especially those fleeing communism in Southeast Asia.
Restoring the Constitution
We reassert adherence to the Tenth Amendment, reserving to the States and to the people all powers not expressly delegated to the national government.
Our Constitution provides for a separation of powers among the three branches of government. In that system, judicial power must be exercised with deference toward State and local authority; it must not expand at the expense of our representative institutions. When the courts try to reorder the priorities of the American people, they undermine the stature of the judiciary and erode respect for the rule of law. That is why we commend the Reagan-Bush team for naming to the federal courts distinguished women and men committed to judicial restraint, the rights of law-abiding citizens, and traditional family values. We pledge to continue their record. Where appropriate, we support congressional use of Article III, Section 2 of the Constitution to restrict the jurisdiction of federal courts.
Government Ethics and Congressional Reform
As the United States celebrates the bicentennial of the U.S. Congress, many Americans are becoming painfully aware that they are being dis-enfranchised and inadequately represented by their elected officials.
Indeed, the process of government has broken down on Capitol Hill. The Founding Fathers of the United States Constitution would be shocked by congressional behavior:
The Democrat congressional leaders exempt themselves from the laws they impose on the people in areas like health, safety and civil rights.
Salaries and staff keep growing. Lavish free mailing privileges and other power perks help most incumbents hold onto their offices, election after election.
Out of 91 appropriations bills in the past seven years, only seven made it to the president's desk on time.
A catch-all bill to fund the government for 1988 was 2,100 pages long, lumping together 13 money bills that should have been separately subject to presidential review.
$44 billion is currently being spent for programs not authorized by legislation.
Special interest spending and pork barrel deals are larded throughout massive bills passed in chaotic late-night sessions.
Vetoed bills are not dealt with directly by the Congress but are buried in other pending legislation.
Phony numbers are used to estimate budgets and to cover up the true costs of legislation.
Even worse, outright offenses against ethical standards and public laws are treated lightly. National security leaks go unpunished. In the House of Representatives, the Ethics Committee has become a shield for Democrats who get caught but don't get punished.
After 36 years of one-party rule, the House of Representatives is no longer the people's branch of government. It is the broken branch. It is an arrogant oligarchy that has subverted the Constitution. The Democrat congressional leaders:
Stole a congressional seat from the people of Indiana by barring a duly elected, and officially certified, Republican Member.
Flagrantly abuse every standard of accepted procedure by adjourning and, contrary to 200 years of House tradition, immediately reconvening in order to create a "new day" and pass legislation previously defeated.
Deny the century-old right of the minority party to offer its final alternatives to bills.
Change House rules to prevent debate and thwart the offering of amendments.
Rig adoption of substantive legislation on mere procedural votes, so their followers won't be accountable on controversial votes to the people back home.
Protect their cronies charged with personal misconduct or criminal activities.
Refuse to allow the House to vote on issues of tremendous concern to the American people and viciously penalize independent Democrats who vote their conscience.
Rig the subcommittee system to give themselves artificial majorities and additional staff members.
Republicans want to hold accountable to the people, the Congress and every other element of government. We will:
Extend the independent counsel law to Congress.
Apply health and safety laws and civil rights statutes to the Congress.
Give to whistle-blowers on Capitol Hill the same legal protection they have in the executive branch, to encourage employees to report illegalities, corruption and sexual harassment.
Implement the budget reform agenda outlined elsewhere in this platform --a balanced budget amendment, line-item veto, and other steps --to restore accountability, order, and truth in government to the way Congress spends the people's money.
Support citizen efforts in the Senate to defeat the gerrymanders that steal seats for Democrat congressmen by denying fair representation to the voters.
Force democracy into the committee system of the House so that committees and staffs reflect the overall composition of the House.
We favor a constitutional amendment which would place some restriction on the number of consecutive terms a man or woman may serve in the U.S. House of Representatives or the U.S. Senate.
Education for the Future
Republican leadership has launched a new era in American education. Our vision of excellence has brought education back to parents, back to basics, and back on a track of excellence leading to a brighter and stronger future for America.
Because education is the key to opportunity, we must make America a nation of learners, ready to compete in the rapidly changing world of the future. Our goal is to combine traditional values and enduring truths with the most modern techniques and technology for teaching and learning.
This challenge will be immense. For two decades before 1981, poor public policies had led to an alarming decline in performance in our schools. Unfocused federal spending seemed to worsen the situation, hamstringing education with regulations and wasting resources in faddish programs top-heavy with administrative overhead.
Then President Reagan and Vice President Bush rallied our "nation at risk." The response was in the best tradition of the American people. In every State, indeed, in every community, individuals and organizations have launched a neighborhood movement for education reform. It has brought together Americans of every race and creed in a crusade for our children's future. Since 1980, average salaries for elementary and secondary teachers have increased to over $28,000, an increase of 20 percent after inflation. We can enhance this record of accomplishment by committing ourselves to these principles:
Parents have the primary right and responsibility for education. Private institutions, communities, States, and the federal government must support and stimulate that parental role. We support the right of parents to educate their children at home.
Choice and competition in education foster quality and protect consumers' rights.
Accountability and evaluation of performance at all levels of education is the key to continuing reform in education. We must reward excellence in learning, in teaching, and in administration.
Values are the core of good education. A free society needs a moral foundation for its learning. We oppose any programs in public schools which provide birth control or abortion services or referrals. Our "first line of defense" to protect our youth from contracting AIDS and other sexually communicable diseases, from teen pregnancy, and from illegal drug use must be abstinence education.
Quality in education should be available to all our children within their communities and neighborhoods. Federal policy should empower low-income families to choose quality and demand accountability in their children's schooling.
Throughout all levels of education we must initiate action to reduce the deplorable dropout rate which deprives young people of their full potential.
Federal programs must focus on students at special risk, especially those with physical disabilities or language deficits, to increase their chance at a productive future in the mainstream of American life.
Because America's future will require increasingly competent leadership in all walks of life, national policy should emphasize the need to provide our most talented students with special programs to challenge their abilities.
Based on those principles, the Republican agenda for better education looks first to home and family, then to communities and States. In States and localities, we support practical, down-to-earth reforms that have made a proven difference in actual operation:
Choice in education, especially for poor families, fosters the parental involvement that is essential for student success, and States should consider enacting voucher systems or other means of encouraging competition among public schools.
Performance testing, both for students and teachers, measures progress, assures accountability to parents and the public, and keeps standards high.
Merit pay, career ladders, or other rewards for superior teachers acknowledge our esteem for them and encourage others to follow their example of dedication to a profession that is critical to our nation's future.
Making use of volunteerism from the private sector and providing opportunity for accelerated accreditation for those with needed expertise broadens the classroom experience and encourages excellence.
Expansions of curriculum to include the teaching of the history, culture, geography and, particularly, the languages of key nations of the world is a necessity. To compete successfully throughout the world, we must acquire the ability to speak the languages of our customers.
Excellence in the teaching of geography is essential to equipping our people with the ability to capture new markets in all parts of the world.
Discipline is a prerequisite for learning. Our schools must be models of order and decorum, not jungles of drugs and violence.
On the federal level, Republicans have worked to facilitate State and local reform movements:
We kept the spotlight on the reform movement through White House leadership, and we refocused the Department of Education to recognize and foster excellence.
We enacted legislation to ensure equal access to schools for student religious groups and led congressional efforts to restore voluntary school prayer.
We led a national crusade against illiteracy, following the example of Barbara Bush.
We put into law protection for pupils in federally funded programs, to shield students and their families from intrusive research and offensive psychological testing.
We strengthened education programs by proposing to replace federal aid to schools with direct assistance that would give choice to low-income parents.
We broke new ground in early childhood development programs, such as Even Start, that emphasize the involvement of parents in the learning process and address adult illiteracy and school readiness education holistically.
We intervened in court cases to defend the right of students to learn in a safe, drug-free environment.
We will continue to advance that agenda and to expand horizons for learning, teaching, and mastering the future:
We will protect the Pledge of Allegiance in all schools as a reminder of the values which must be at the core of learning for a free society.
We will use federal programs to foster excellence, rewarding "Merit Schools" which significantly improve education for their students.
We will urge our local school districts to recognize the value of kindergarten and pre-kindergarten programs.
We will direct federal matching funds to promote magnet schools that turn students toward the challenges of the future rather than the failures of the past.
We will support laboratories of educational excellence in every State by refocusing federal funds for educational research.
We will increase funding for the Head Start program to help children get a fair chance at learning, right from the beginning.
We will work with local schools and the private sector to develop models For evaluating teachers and other school officials.
We will continue to support tuition tax credits for parents who choose to educate their children in private educational institutions.
We would establish a public-private partnership using the Department of Labor's Job Training Partnership Act funds to encourage youth to stay in school and graduate. The Labor Department funds would be made available to local employers and business groups to hire high school students after school and during the summer with the requirement that they keep their grades at a "C" average or above until graduation.
In higher education, Republicans want to promote both opportunity and responsibility:
We will keep resources focused on low-income students and address the barriers that discourage minority students from entering and succeeding in institutions of higher education.
We are determined to reverse the intolerable rates of default in the guaranteed student loan program to make more money available to those who really need to borrow it.
We will keep the spotlight of public attention on the college cost spiral --running far ahead of inflation overall --and challenge administrators to exercise more fiscal responsibility.
We will create a College Savings Bond program, with tax-exempt interest, to help families save for their children's higher education.
We will condition federal aid to post-secondary institutions upon their good faith effort to maintain safe and drug-free campuses.
We will insist that freedom of speech is not only a fundamental right, it is one of the first lines of education. This freedom should be afforded to all speakers with a minimum of harassment.
We will continue education benefits for veterans of military service and advance the principle that those who serve their country in the armed forces have first call on federal education assistance.
We will continue the Reagan-Bush policy of emphasizing vocational-technical education. A large number of jobs in our society require secondary and post-secondary vocational-technical education. Federal programs and policies must recognize and enhance vocational-technical students.
We will support educational programs in federal prisons that will allow prisoners the opportunity to become literate and to learn an employable skill. We encourage similar programs at the state level.
To compete globally, our society must prepare our children for the world of work. We cannot allow one of every eight 17-year-olds to remain functionally illiterate. We cannot allow 1 million students to drop out of high school every year, most of them without basic skills; therefore, we must teach them reading, writing, and mathematics. We must reestablish their obligation to learn.
Education for the future means more than formal schooling in classrooms. About 75 percent of our current work force will need some degree of retraining by the year 2000. More than half of all jobs we will create in the 1990s will require some education beyond high school, and much of that will be obtained outside of regular educational institutions. Unprecedented flexibility in working arrangements, career changes, and a stampede of technological advance are ushering us into a era of lifelong learning. Therefore, we support employment training programs at all levels of government such as the Job Training Partnership Act and the recently restructured Worker Adjustment Program for dislocated workers. The placement success of these programs can be directly traced to their public/private sector partnerships and local involvement in their program development and implementation.
In the 1960s and 1970s, we learned what doesn't solve the problems of education: federal financing and regimentation of our schools. In the 1980s, we asserted what works: parental responsibility, community support and local control, good teachers and determined administrators, and a return to the basic values and content of Western civilization. That combination gave generations of Americans the world's greatest opportunities for learning. It can guarantee the same for future generations.
Arts and Humanities
Republicans consider the resurgence of the arts and humanities a vital part of getting back to basics in education. Our young people must acquire more than information and skills. They must learn to reason and to appreciate the intellectual achievements that express the enduring values of our civilization. To that end, we will:
Continue the Republican economic renaissance which has made possible a tremendous outpouring of support for the arts and humanities.
Support full deductibility for donations to tax-exempt cultural institutions in order to encourage the private support of arts and humanities.
Support the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities and the Institute of Museum Services in their effort to support America's cultural institutions, artists, and scholars.
Guard against the misuse of governmental grants by those who attack or derogate any race or creed and oppose the politicization of the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities.
While recognizing the diversity of our people, we encourage educational institutions to emphasize in the arts and humanities those ideas and cultural accomplishments that address the ethical foundations of our culture.
Science and Technology
Our nation's continuing progress depends on scientific and technological innovation. It is America's economic fountain of youth. Republicans advocate a creative partnership between government and the private sector to ensure the dynamism and creativity of scientific research and technology:
We recognize that excellence in education, and especially scientific literacy, is a precondition for progress, and that economic growth makes possible the nation's continuing advancement in scientific research.
We consider a key priority in any increased funding for the National Science Foundation the retooling of science and engineering labs at colleges and universities.
We endorse major national projects like the superconducting Super Collider.
We will ensure that tax policy gives optimum incentives for the private sector to fund a high level of advanced research. Toward that end, we will make permanent the current tax credit for research and development and extend it to cooperative research ventures.
We will strengthen the role of science and engineering in national policy by reinforcing the Office of the President's Science Adviser with the addition of a Science Advisory Council.
We will encourage exchange of scientific information, especially between business and academic institutions, to speed up the application of research to benefit the public.
We will improve the acquisition of scientific and technical information from other countries through expedited translation services and more aggressive outreach by federal agencies.
We will include international technology flows as part of U.S. trade negotiations to ensure that the benefits of foreign advances are available to Americans.
We will encourage innovation by strengthening protection for intellectual property at home and abroad. We will promote the public benefits that come from commercialization of research conducted under federal sponsorship by allowing private ownership of intellectual property developed in that manner.
We will oppose regulation which stifles competition and hinders breakthroughs that can transform life for the better in areas like biotechnology.
This is an agenda for more than science and technology. It will broaden economic opportunity, sustain our ability to compete globally, and enhance the quality of life for all.
The Republican Party will reestablish U.S. preeminence in space. It is our nation's frontier, our manifest destiny. President Reagan has set ambitious goals for a space comeback. We are determined to meet them and move on to even greater challenges.
We support further development of the space station, the National Aerospace Plane, Project Pathfinder, a replacement shuttle, and the development of alternate launch vehicles. We endorse Mission to Planet Earth for space science to advance our understanding of environmental and climatic forces.
A resurgent America, renewed economically and in spirit, must get on with its business of greatness. We must commit to a manned flight to Mars around the year 2000 and to continue exploration of the moon.
These goals will be achievable only with full participation by private initiative. We welcome the Reagan-Bush initiative to increase the role of the private sector in transport, particularly in the launch of commercial satellites. The Reagan-Bush Administration's proposed space station will allow the private sector additional opportunities in the area of research and manufacturing.
Our program for freedom in space will allow millions of American investors to put their money on the future. That's one of the ways to lift the conquest of space out of the congressional budget logjam. Republicans believe that America must have a clear vision for the future of the space program, well-defined goals, and streamlined implementation, as we reach for the stars.
Strong Communities and Neighborhoods
Republicans want a free and open society for every American. That means more than economic advancement alone. It requires the safety and security of persons and their property. It demands an end to crime.
Republicans stand with the men and women who put their lives on the line every day, in State and local police forces and in federal law enforcement agencies. We are determined to reestablish safety in the streets of those Communities where the poor, the hard-working, and the elderly now live in fear. Despite opposition from liberal Democrats, we've made a start:
The rate of violent crime has fallen 20 percent since 1981. Personal thefts fell 21 percent, robberies fell 31 percent, assaults fell 17 percent, and household burglaries fell 30 percent.
In 1986, crimes against individuals reached their lowest level in 14 years.
The Reagan-Bush Administration has crusaded for victims' rights in trials and sentencing procedures and has advocated restitution by felons to their victims.
We have been tough on white-collar crime, too. We have filed more criminal anti-trust cases than the previous Administration.
We pushed a historic reform of toughened sentencing procedures for federal courts to make the punishment fit the crime.
We appointed to the courts judges who have been sensitive to the rights of victims and law abiding citizens.
We will forge ahead with the Republican anti-crime agenda:
We must never allow the presidency and the Department of Justice to fall into the hands of those who coddle hardened criminals. Republicans oppose furloughs for those criminals convicted of first degree murder and others who are serving a life sentence without possibility of parole. We believe that victims' rights should not be accorded less importance than those of convicted felons.
We will reestablish the federal death penalty.
We will reform the exclusionary rule, to prevent the release of guilty felons on technicalities.
We will reform cumbersome habeas corpus procedures, used to delay cases and prevent punishment of the guilty.
We support State laws implementing preventive detention to allow courts to deny bail to those considered dangerous and likely to commit additional crimes.
The election of 1988 will determine which way our country deals with crime. A Republican President and a Republican Congress can lay the foundation for a safer future.
The Republican Party is committed to a drug-free America. Our policy is strict accountability, for users of illegal drugs as well as for those who profit by that usage.
The drug epidemic didn't just happen. It was fueled by the liberal attitudes of the 1960s and 1970s that tolerated drug usage. Drug abuse directly threatens the fabric of our society. It is part of a worldwide narcotics empire whose $300 billion business makes it one of the largest industries on earth.
The Reagan-Bush Administration has set out to destroy it. In the past six years, federal drug arrests have increased by two-thirds. Compared to 1980, two and a half times as many drug offenders were sent to prison in 1987. Federal spending for drug enforcement programs more than tripled in the last seven years. And we have broken new ground by enlisting U.S. intelligence agencies in the fight against drug trafficking.
Drug usage in our armed forces has plummeted as a direct result of an aggressive education and random testing program. In 1983, we instituted random drug testing in the Coast Guard. At that time, 10.3 percent of the tests showed positive drug usage. As a result of this testing program, the positive usage rate fell dramatically to 2.9 percent in 1987. The Reagan-Bush Administration has also undertaken efforts to insure that all those in safety related positions in our transportation system are covered by similar drug testing requirements. We commend this effort.
We are determined to finish the job:
The Republican Party unequivocally opposes legalizing or de-criminalizing any illicit drug.
We support strong penalties, including the death penalty for major drug traffickers.
User accountability for drug usage is long overdue. Conviction for any drug crime should make the offender ineligible for discretionary federal assistance, grants, loans, and contracts for a period of time.
To impress young Americans with the seriousness of our fight against drugs, we urge States to suspend eligibility for a driver's license to anyone convicted of a drug offense.
We urge school districts to get tough on illegal drug use by notifying parents and police whenever it is discovered.
We will encourage tougher penalties for those who use children in illegal narcotics operations.
We will require federal contractors and grantees to establish a drug-free work place with the goal that no American will have to work around drug abuse.
We will suspend passports from those convicted of major drug offenses.
To protect residents of public housing, we will evict persons dealing in drugs. We will foster resident review committees to screen out drug abusers and dealers. We will promote tenant management as the surest cure for the drug plague in public projects.
We will strengthen interdiction of foreign drugs and expand the military's role in stopping traffickers.
We will work with foreign governments to eradicate drug crops in their countries.
In a summit of Western Hemisphere nations, we will seek total cooperation from other governments in wiping out the international drug empire.
In addition to our enforcement activities, we encourage drug education in our schools. These programs should begin as early as the elementary school years, before children are subjected to peer pressure to experiment with drugs, and should continue through high school. Cutting down on the demand for drugs will be of great assistance as we increase our enforcement efforts to reduce drug supply.
We will encourage seizure and forfeiture programs by the Department of the Treasury and each State to take the profits out of illicit drug sales.
We commend our fellow citizens who are actively joining the war against drugs. Drug dealers are domestic terrorists, and we salute the heroic residents of poor neighborhoods who have boldly shut down crack houses and run traffickers out of their communities.
We recognize the need to improve the availability of drug rehabilitation and treatment.
There's a bright side to the picture. We know the most powerful deterrent to drug abuse: strong, stable family life, along with the absolute approach summed up in "Just Say No." Nancy Reagan has made that phrase the battle-cry of the war against drugs, and it is echoed by more than 10,000 Just Say No clubs. We salute her for pointing the way to our nation's drug-free future.
Opportunity and Assistance
Our country's economic miracle of the last eight years has been the most successful assault on poverty in our era. Millions of families have worked their way into the mainstream of national life. The poverty rate continues to decline. However, many remain in poverty, and we pledge to help them in their straggle for self-sufficiency and independence.
For most of our country's history, helping those less fortunate was a community responsibility. Strong families pulled together, and strong communities cared for those in need. That is more than a description of the past. It is a prescription for the future, pointing the way toward real reform of today's welfare mess through these Republican principles:
We support the maintenance of income assistance programs for those who cannot work. In particular, we recognize our responsibility to ensure a decent standard of living for the aged, the disabled, and children dependent upon the community.
Poverty can be addressed by income assistance or in-kind services. Dependency, on the other hand, requires a comprehensive strategy to change patterns of attitude and behavior. We will work to address both poverty and dependency.
Work is an essential component of welfare reform, and education is an essential component of employability. Welfare reform must require participation in education and work, and provide day care assistance and continued access to Medicaid during the transition to full independence.
Fathers of welfare dependent children must be held accountable by mandating paternity determinations and requiring the participation of unemployed fathers in education and work programs.
State and local administration of education, work, and welfare programs is best for both the taxpayers and those in need.
State and local pilot programs in welfare are the cutting edge of welfare reform. States should be granted the authority by the federal government to pursue innovative programs which return teen mothers to school and welfare recipients to work. Congressional Democrats are blocking the expansion of this vital process. A Republican Congress will give the States authority to meet local needs.
Welfare fraud is an offense against both the taxpayers and the poor. Whether perpetrated by participants or providers of services its eradication is an essential component of a compassionate welfare policy.
We are committed to assisting those in need. We are equally committed to addressing the root causes of poverty. Divorce, desertion, and illegitimacy have been responsible for almost all the increase in child poverty in the last 15 years. Because strong family life is the most remarkable anti-poverty force in history, Republicans will make the reinforcement of family rights and responsibilities an essential component of public policy. Stronger enforcement of child support laws must be an important part of that effort, along with the revision of State laws which have left many women and children vulnerable to economic distress.
Children in poverty deserve our strongest support. We are committed to safer neighborhoods and full prosecution for child abuse and exploitation. We will reach out to these children through Head Start and targeted education, basic health and nutrition assistance, local community efforts and individual concern. But something more is required to fulfill the hope for self-sufficiency: a job in an expanding economy. The compassionate policy for children in need is the chance for families to stand on their own feet in a society filled with opportunity.
Fighting poverty means much more than distributing cash. It includes education and work programs. It means reducing illiteracy, the single greatest indicator of life-long poverty. It involves combatting crime so that the homes and earnings of the poor are secure. It includes Republican reforms in public housing, like resident management and ownership. It requires regulatory reforms to open up opportunities for those on the margins of the work force. It means streamlining adoption rules and ensuring poor parents a real say in their children's education. Above all, it means maintaining a strong, healthy economy that creates jobs.
Urban America is center stage of our country's future. That is why we address its problems and potential throughout this platform, rather than limiting our concern to a particular section. In doing so, Republicans follow three broad principles:
Economic growth is the most important urban program. Because we cut taxes, a new prosperity has transformed many towns and cities. Because we forced down inflation, cities pay much lower bond rates. Because we created 17.5 million new jobs through a thriving economy, millions of urban residents have seized the opportunity to escape welfare and unemployment. Because we slashed regulatory burdens, enterprise is transforming areas untouched by government programs of past years.
Local control is the best form of administration. That's why we merged federal programs into block grants for community development and housing.
Citizen choice is the key to successful government. Options in education empower parents and attract new residents. Options in public housing transform slums into real communities, bustling with enterprise and hope.
Building on those principles, Republicans will advance our urban opportunity agenda which includes:
Enterprise zones, where tax incentives and regulatory reforms open the way for creating jobs and rebuilding neighborhoods from the ground up which have been blocked by the Democrats in Congress.
Resident control --both management and ownership --of public housing, with a goal of transferring one-third of the country's public housing space to tenants by 1995.
Urban homesteading and other programs to ensure affordable housing opportunities in our cities.
Emergency waiver of Davis-Bacon wage requirements for cities with severe deterioration of the public infrastructure.
Contracting out public services to workers in the private sector.
Education assistance directed to low-income households instead of aid to institutions that fail to meet their needs.
Continued reduction in crime rates, especially street crime and the violence that destroys community life.
Unrelenting war on drugs.
Greater control by local government in federally assisted programs, especially transportation and housing.
Steady environmental progress to ensure clean air and clean water to our cities and assist local governments in solving their solid waste disposal problems in order to make our cities safe and healthy places to live.
Special attention to urban residents in the national census, to ensure that cities are not shortchanged in federal representation or in federal programs based upon population.
Rural Community Development and the Family Farm
Republicans see a robust future for American agriculture. Rural America is our country's heartland and pillar of economic and moral strength. From its small towns and communities comes more than the world's greatest bounty of food. From them also comes a commitment to the land by a proud and independent people.
For much of this century, the first line of defense against world hunger has been the American farmer and rancher. In the future as in the past, the enterprise of rural Americans will be crucial to the progress of our country and of mankind. The entire nation --and indeed, the world --benefits from their unsurpassed productivity.
When farmers and ranchers face adversity, the communities that depend on them do, too. When farmers' income falls, the earnings of others follow. When agriculture suffers, the tax base and public services of whole regions decline.
That is why the current drought is an emergency for our entire country. It will affect every American: the way we live, the food we eat, the land we cherish. We cannot promise to bring rain, but we can bend every arm of government to provide for the expeditious relief of farmers and ranchers in trouble. We pledge to do so. We will focus assistance on those most seriously hurt by the drought. With strong Republican support in the House and Senate, a major relief bill has been signed by President Reagan.
Some disasters are man-made. In the late 1970s, American agriculture bore the brunt of bad public policy. Long thereafter, farmers suffered the consequences of those four years of devastating Democrat mismanagement. Inflation drove production costs and farm debt to their highest levels in history. To top it off, the Democrats' embargo of grain and other agricultural products dealt a blow to the nation's heartland from which many farmers never recovered.
For eight years, Ronald Reagan and George Bush have provided the leadership to turn that situation around. Despite strong Democrat opposition, Republicans have made a good beginning. Because of Republican policies, America's farm and rural sector is coming alive again:
Inflation, unemployment, and interest rates are at their lowest levels in years. Our dollar exchange rate is more competitive.
Land values, the best indicator of farm prospects, have stabilized and are rising in many areas.
Farm credit institutions, both public and private, are back on their feet.
Farm debt has been reduced from $193 billion in 1983 to a projected $137 billion in 1988.
Net farm income increased to its highest level ever in 1987, reaching $46 billion, while net cash income was also a record at $57 billion.
We have reduced price-depressing surpluses to their lowest levels in many years. Total grain surpluses have been cut in half from their high in 1986.
In summary, increased agricultural exports, higher commodity and livestock prices, increased profits and land values, declining farm debt and surpluses, all these point to a healthier outlook for the rural economy.
The recovery is no accident. Republicans have acted decisively in the interest of rural America. Look at the record:
In 1981, we immediately halted the Democrats' embargo on grain and other agricultural products and kept our pledge always to be a reliable supplier. We now reaffirm our promise never to use food as a weapon as was done by the last Democrat Administration.
We have successfully opened more markets for our agricultural commodities and value-added products around the world through competitive pricing, aggressive use of the Export Enhancement Program, the Targeted Export Assistance Program, marketing loans, and generic commodity certificates.
Through tough trade negotiations, we have opened markets abroad, including the Japanese beef and citrus markets. Numerous markets for specialty products have also been opened.
We ended the notorious "widow's tax" so surviving spouses don't have to sell family farms and ranches to meet inheritance taxes. We also reduced other burdensome inheritance taxes for farm and ranch families.
In 1985, President Reagan signed one of the most successful farm bills in modern history. The dual goals of protecting farm income while gaining back our lost markets are being achieved.
We have given farmers the opportunity to profitably retire millions of acres of erodible and generally less productive land through the Conservation Reserve Program, and we enacted legislation to ensure that taxpayers' dollars will not be used to subsidize soil erosion or otherwise damage the environment that makes rural America a place where people want to live.
The Democrats offer nothing for the future of farming. Their plan for mandatory production controls would make productive and efficient American farmers beat a full-scale retreat from the world market:
It would be a boon to family farms --in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, the European Community, Australia, and other competitor nations.
It would pull the plug on rural Americans. It would sound a death-knell for rural towns and cities as land is taken from production. According to a United States Department of Agriculture study, it would reduce Gross National Product by $64 billion and wipe out 2.1 million jobs in the private sector.
In short, Democrats want to put farmers on welfare while Republicans want to look after the welfare of all rural Americans.
Our Global Economy
Better than most people, agriculturists know we live in a global economy. America's farmers, ranchers, foresters, and fishermen can compete against anyone in the world if trade rules are fair.
We recognize the historical contribution of agricultural exports to a positive national trade balance and will work on all fronts to improve agricultural trade.
Republicans will aggressively pursue fair and free trade for all U.S. products:
We will insist that production-, consumption-, and trade-distorting agricultural subsidies of the European Economic Community and others be phased out simultaneously with the phasing out of our farm and export assistance programs.
We will continue to put free and fair trade for farmers and ranchers on the agenda of every international conference on trade.
We will use free trade agreements with good trading partners as leverage to open markets elsewhere.
We will be a reliable supplier of agricultural products to world markets and will not use food as a weapon of foreign policy.
In short, instead of retreat, Republicans promise a full-scale assault on foreign markets.
Republicans will work to improve agricultural income through market returns at home and abroad, not government controls and subsidies:
We pledge early action to renew and improve the successful farm programs set to expire in 1990.
We pledge to continue international food assistance, including programs through the Eisenhower Food for Peace program, to feed the world's hungry and develop markets abroad.
We will continue to provide leadership in the effort to improve standards of quality for grain and other agricultural products in order to meet international competition.
We call for greater planting flexibility in federal programs to allow more diversity in fanning and more freedom for farmers to grow what they want to grow and to sell their products to whoever will buy them.
We recognize the need for appropriate multiple-use policy on federal range lands and retention of a fair and equitable grazing fee policy as has been established by the Reagan Administration.
We support a States' review of the adequacy of crop irrigation capacity under severe water shortage conditions, such as the 1988 drought, to identify areas of potential need and development.
Water use policy formulation belongs to the States without federal interference; we recognize traditional State supremacy in water law, which is the best bulwark against future water crises.
We resolve to lower tax rates for long-term capital gains and to work for fairer preproductive expense capitalization laws, including the so-called "heifer tax" as just one example, to promote investment in the production of food and fiber.
We stand with the nation's foresters and the communities that depend on the forest products industry in supporting an annual timber harvest and multiple-use policy that meets national needs both for a sustained yield of wood products and for sound environmental management.
We will continue our strong support for agricultural research, including increased emphasis on developing new uses for farm products, such as alternative fuels, food, non-food and industrial products. The agricultural industry is, and always has been, on the leading edge of the technological revolution, and it must continue this tradition in order to be internationally competitive.
Net Cash Farm Income
We will encourage public and private research and technical assistance to ensure that the resource base of American agriculture is preserved. Sound stewardship of our land and water resources is important for this and future generations. The soil and water resources of our nation must provide profit for farmers and ranchers and a safe and wholesome food supply. Our Land Grant institutions, working with the private sector, can provide more environmentally safe and biodegradable agrichemicals and improved farming techniques that will help preserve the quality of our underground and surface water supplies.
We pledge that State farm home exemption and redemption rights shall remain inviolate from federal interference.
Rural Economic Development
Republicans realize that rural communities face challenges that go beyond agricultural concerns. Rural economic development is about more than jobs; it is also about the quality of life. We are ready to address the needs of rural America with creativity and compassion:
The best jobs program for rural Americans is a good farm program.
The key to rural development is effective local leadership working in partnership with private business and federal, State, and local governments. We will advance, in Congress and at the State level, rural enterprise zones to attract investment and create jobs geared to the opportunities of the century ahead.
Education is the crucial element in ensuring that rural Americans will be in the mainstream of our national future. We must assure rural youngsters quality education and good schools.
The roads, bridges, schools, sewer and water systems, and other public works of many rural communities have deteriorated. We will ensure that those communities receive their fair share of aid under federal assistance programs.
Discrimination against rural hospitals and medical practices in federal reimbursement of health care costs has contributed to reduced medical services in rural America. We pledge to help rural Americans meet their health care needs and will ensure fair treatment for their health care institutions under federal health programs.
To have full participation in our country's unbounded future, rural people will need access to modern telecommunications and satellite communications systems including commercial decryption devices. Adequate supplies of reasonably priced electric power are also a necessity. We continue to support a strong rural electrification and telephone program. We believe the network of local rural electric and telephone cooperatives that provide these services represents a vital public/private partnership necessary to assure growth and development of the rural economy.
We will energetically use the Job Training Partnership Act and a newly enacted worker retraining program to ensure that rural workers are fully integrated into the work force of the future.
We will continue to support programs that enhance housing, business, and industry opportunities for rural Americans; and we will adapt urban homesteading programs to rural communities.
Sound agricultural policy for rural America demands sound economic policy for all America. We will continue to stabilize fiscal and monetary policies in order to keep inflation in check and interest rates stable. This foundation of economic stability must underlie all rural initiatives by levels of government.
This is our pledge for the continuing renewal of a prosperous rural America.
Agricultural Interest Rates
Energy, Environment, and Transportation
Energy for the Future
To make real their vision for the future, the American people need adequate, safe, and reliable supplies of energy. Both the security of our nation and the prosperity of our households will depend upon clean and affordable power to light the way ahead and speed a daring society toward its goals. We recognize that energy is a security issue as well as an economic issue. We cannot have a strong nation if we are not energy independent.
We are part way there. In 1981, Republican leadership replaced the Democrats' energy crisis with energy consensus. We rejected scarcity, fostered growth, and set course for an expansive future. We left behind the days of gasoline lines, building-temperature controls, the multi-billion dollar boondoggle of the Synfuels Corporation, and the cancellation of night baseball games.
The Carter-Mondale years of crippling regulation and exorbitant costs are a thing of the past. We returned the country to policies that encourage rather than discourage domestic production of energy. With a free, more competitive system of producing and marketing energy, American consumers gained a wider range of energy choices at lower prices.
Cumulative Strategic Petroleum Reserve Oil Fill
During the Reagan-Bush years, we loosened OPEC's hold on the world's petroleum markets. The United States built up its Strategic Petroleum Reserve and persuaded its allies to increase their emergency petroleum stocks as both a deterrent and a cushion against supply disruptions. When President Reagan and Vice President Bush took office, the Strategic Petroleum Reserve held only 79 million barrels. Now it contains almost 550 million, a three-month cushion in the event of a crisis.
Conservation and energy efficiency, stimulated by the oil shocks of the 1970s, made impressive gains. The nation now consumes less oil, and no more energy in total, then it did in 1977, even with the remarkable growth in our economy under the Reagan-Bush Administration.
Despite these gains, much hard work remains. A strong energy policy is required to assure that the needs of our society are met. Because of low prices, domestic oil and gas production has declined significantly. New initiatives will be required to halt the erosion of the domestic oil reserve base, to restore the vitality of the domestic oil and gas industry, to slow the rise in oil imports, and to prevent a return to the vulnerabilities of the 1970s. We must maintain the progress made in conservation and rely more heavily on secure American fuels: domestic oil, natural gas, coal, nuclear energy, alternative sources and renewables.
The United States is heavily dependent on oil, which represents 40 percent of our total energy consumption. We must have a healthy domestic industry to assure the availability of this fuel to meet our needs. The decline in oil prices has brought exploratory drilling in the country to a virtual standstill, and continuing low prices threaten the hundreds of thousands of small wells that make up the most of U.S. production.
We will set an energy policy for the United States to maintain a viable core industry and to ensure greater energy self-sufficiency through private initiatives. We will adopt forceful initiatives to reverse the decline of our domestic oil production. Republicans support:
Repeal of the counterproductive Windfall Profits Tax.
Maintenance of our schedule for filling the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to reach 750 million barrels by 1993 and encouragement of our allies to maintain similar reserves.
Tax incentives to save marginal wells, to encourage exploration for new oil, and to improve the recovery of oil still in place.
Repeal of the Transfer Rule prohibiting independent producers from using certain tax provisions on acquired properties.
Elimination of 80 percent of intangible drilling costs as an alternative minimum tax preference item.
Exploration and development in promising areas, including federal lands and waters, particularly in the Arctic, in a manner that is protective of our environment and is in the best national interest.
Such continued exploration and development of new domestic oil and gas reserves are essential to keep our nation from becoming more dependent on foreign energy sources. Indeed, tax incentives can make our investment in U.S. oil and gas exploration competitive with other countries. They can stimulate drilling, put people back to work, and help maintain our leadership in oil field technology and services. Incentives and opportunities for increased domestic exploration can also help limit the rise in imports, discourage oil price shocks, and enhance energy security.
Natural gas is a clean, abundant, and reasonably priced fuel secure within the borders of the nation. Increased reliance on natural gas can have significant national security and environmental benefits. While U.S. gas resources are plentiful and recoverable at competitive prices, regulatory burdens and price controls still impede development.
More progress must be made in deregulation of natural gas:
We support fully decontrolling prices and providing more open access to transportation.
We also support the flexible use of natural gas to fuel automobiles and boilers.
Over the longer term, natural gas as an alternative fuel could significantly reduce overdependence on imported oil, while also improving air quality. We should support cost effective development and greater use of this fuel.
The United States enjoys a rich national endowment of enormous supplies of coal which can provide a secure source of energy for hundreds of years.
We should aggressively pursue the clean-coal technology initiative successfully launched by the Reagan-Bush Administration as part of the solution to coal's environmental problems.
A major effort should be made to encourage coal exports, which could improve the trade balance, put Americans to work, and provide reliable energy supplies to our allies.
We must preserve nuclear power as a safe and economic option to meet future electricity needs. It generates 20 percent of our electricity, and we anticipate the continued expansion of renewable energy and environmentally safe nuclear power. We will promote the adoption of standardized, cost-effective, and environmentally safe nuclear plant designs. We should enhance our efforts to manage nuclear waste and will insist on the highest standards of safety.
Technology, Alternatives, Conservation, and Regulation
Technology is America's competitive edge, and it should be encouraged in finding new solutions to our energy problems. Energy efficiency improvements such as more efficient cars, better insulated homes, and more efficient industrial processes, have resulted in substantial savings, making the U.S. economy more competitive.
We support funding for research and development, particularly where current market economics preclude private initiative.
We will set priorities and, where cost effective, support research and development for alternative fuels such as ethanol, methanol, and compressed natural gas, particularly for use in transportation.
We will also support research and development for energy efficiency, conservation, renewables, fusion and superconductivity.
We encourage the improvements of our national electricity transportation network, to achieve the economic and environmental efficiencies and reliability of linking electricity-exporting regions with importers.
Substantial progress has been made in eliminating the intrusive and costly regulatory functions of the Department of Energy and should be continued. Efforts should be made to streamline the department's functions and evaluate its long-term institutional role in setting national energy policy, in discouraging a return to regulation, and in promoting long-term scientific research.
We believe continued economic progress requires an adequate and secure supply of electricity from every possible source in addition to energy conservation. Conservation alone cannot meet the energy needs of a growing economy. Witness the case of Massachusetts, where the State government's energy policy of stopping construction of any significant electric generating plants of all kinds has caused a dangerous shortage.
Preserving and Protecting the Environment
The Republican Party has a long and honored tradition of preserving our nation's natural resources and environment. We recognize that the preservation, conservation, and protection of our environment contribute to our health and well-being and that, as citizens, we all share in the responsibility to safeguard our God-given resources. A great Republican President, Teddy Roosevelt, once characterized our environmental challenge as "the great central task of leaving this land even a better land for our descendants than it is for us." Satisfying this imperative requires dedication and a commitment both to the protection of our environment and to the development of economic opportunities for all through a growing economy.
Republicans have led the efforts to protect the environment.
We have dramatically reduced airborne lead contamination. This reduction has been perhaps the most important contribution to the health of Americans living in urban areas.
By almost any measure, the air is vastly improved from the 1970s. Carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, ozone, nitrogen dioxide, and other emissions have declined substantially.
We brought record numbers of enforcement cases against toxic polluters based on the principle that polluters should pay for the damages they cause.
We pioneered an international accord for the protection of the stratospheric ozone layer, the first such international agreement.
Dramatic progress has been made in protecting coastal barrier islands, in reducing coastal erosion, and in protecting estuaries.
We have led the fight to clean up our Great Lakes and the Chesapeake and Narragansett Bays, some of the most unique and productive ecosystems on earth.
We encouraged agricultural conservation, enhanced our wetlands, and preserved and restored our National Parks, which had suffered tragic neglect in the years preceding the Reagan-Bush Administration.
Under Republican leadership, the most important soil conservation measure of the last half-century became law as the Conservation Title of the 1985 Farm Bill.
We established 34 national wildlife refuges in 21 States and territories.
We reformed U.S. and international aid programs to assist developing nations to assure environmental protection.
Republicans look to the environmental future with confidence in the American people and with a renewed commitment to world leadership in environmental protection. We recognize the necessary role of the federal government only in matters that cannot be managed by regional cooperation or by levels of government closer to the people. Cooperative action by all is needed to advance the nation's agenda for a cleaner, safer environment.
The toughest challenges lie ahead of us. Republicans propose the following program for the environment in the 1990s:
We will work for further reductions in air and water pollution and effective actions against the threats posed by acid rain. These goals can and must be achieved without harmful economic dislocation.
We are committed to minimizing the release of toxins into the environment.
We will continue to lead the effort to develop new clean-coal technologies and to remove the barriers that prevent cleaner, alternative fuels from being used.
We support a comprehensive plan of action to fight coastal erosion and to protect and restore the nation's beaches, coral reefs, bodies of water, wetlands and estuaries such as the Louisiana coast, Chesapeake Bay, the Great Lakes, San Francisco Bay, Puget Sound, Narragansett Bay, and other environmentally sensitive areas. The restoration of these areas will continue to be a priority.
A top priority of our country must be the continued improvement of our National Parks and wildlife areas. We must upgrade our recreation, fisheries, and wildlife programs in parks, wildlife refuges, forests, and other public lands. We support efforts, including innovative public-private partnerships, to restore declining waterfowl populations and enhance recreational fisheries.
We will fight to protect endangered species and to sustain biological diversity wordwide.
We support federal, State, and local policies, including tax code provisions, which lead to the renewal and revitalization of our environment through restoration and which encourage scenic easements designed to preserve farmland and open spaces.
We believe public lands should not be transferred to any special group in a manner inconsistent with current Reagan-Bush Administration policy. To the extent possible, consistent with current policy, we should keep public lands open and accessible.
We will protect the productive capacity of our lands by minimizing erosion.
We are committed to the historic preservation of our American heritage, including our architectural, archeological, and maritime resources.
We support strong enforcement of our environmental laws and will accelerate the pace of our national effort to clean up hazardous waste sites and to protect our groundwater. We will promote proper use of fertilizers and pesticides to minimize pollution of groundwater.
Republicans recognize that toxic and hazardous waste production is increasing. Therefore, we will utilize the nation's scientific community to develop solutions to this waste disposal dilemma as an alternative to the continued burying, exporting, and ocean dumping of these dangerous substances, as they are no more than stop-gap measures with extremely tragic potential.
We are committed to solving our country's increasing problem of waste disposal. By 1995, half of our existing landfills will be closed, and municipalities will have increased difficulty finding new sites. This is an issue which will require the dedication and resolve of our local communities, the private sector, and all of us as citizens. Resource recovery, recycling, and waste minimization are critical elements of our solution, and we will work to ensure that innovative approaches to the problem are encouraged.
We are determined to prevent dumping off our coasts and in international waters. Ocean dumping poses a hazard not only to marine life, but also to those who live along our coasts and to those who use them for recreation. Where federal laws have been violated, we will prosecute polluters to the full extent of the law, including adherence to the 1991 federal ban on ocean dumping of sewage sludge. Where laws need to be strengthened, we will work at the federal, State, and local levels to do so.
We will support all serious efforts to cope with the special problems of illegal dumping of hospital and medical waste. We pledge close cooperation by the Environmental Protection Agency with States and industry groups to develop new approaches to the most cost-effective means for the safe disposal by responsible medical facilities. Those who continue to dump illegally threaten the very life and health of our communities, and we call for enactment by the States of tough new felony laws that will permit swift prosecution of these criminals.
We will require that federal departments and agencies meet or exceed the environmental standards set for citizens in the private sector.
Many of the most serious environmental problems that will confront us in the years ahead are global in scope. For example, degradation of the stratospheric ozone layer poses a health hazard not only to Americans, but to all peoples around the globe. The Reagan-Bush Administration successfully pioneered an agreement to attack this problem through world-wide action. In addition, we will continue to lead this effort by promoting private sector initiatives to develop new technologies and adopt processes which protect the ozone layer. A similar ability to develop international agreements to solve complex global problems such as tropical forest destruction, ocean dumping, climate change, and earthquakes will be increasingly vital in the years ahead. All of these efforts will require strong and experienced leadership to lead the other nations of the world in a common effort to combat ecological dangers that threaten all peoples. The Republican Party believes that, toward this end, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration should be joined with the Environmental Protection Agency.
We all have a stake in maintaining the environmental balance and ecological health of our planet and our country. As Republicans, we hold that it is of critical importance to preserve our national heritage. We must assure that programs for economic growth and opportunity sustain the natural abundance of our land and waters and protect the health and well-being of our citizens. As a nation, we should take pride in our accomplishments and look forward to fulfilling our obligation of leaving this land an even better place for our children and future generations.
Transportation for America
Republican leadership has revitalized America's transportation system. Through regulatory reform, we increased efficiency in all major modes of transportation. By making our national transportation system safer, more convenient, and less expensive, we have both strengthened our economy and served the interests of all the American people:
Aviation deregulation now saves consumers $11 billion annually through improved productivity and lower air fares. Millions more Americans can now afford to fly. Even though more people are flying, the overall safety record for commercial aviation during the past four years has been the best in history.
The National Airspace System (NAS) Plan is upgrading virtually all the equipment in the air traffic control system to meet safety and capacity needs into the next century.
Rail freight service has been rescued from the brink of insolvency and revitalized. Railroads have lowered rates for many shippers, helping to keep the transportation cost of coal-generated electric power down and making America's farmers more competitive abroad.
The creation of regional and short-line railroads has been encouraged by the Reagan-Bush Administration. The development of these small businesses has been a welcomed alternative to railroad abandonments, and we will continue to encourage their growth.
The Reagan-Bush Administration achieved new rail safety legislation which expands federal jurisdiction over drug, alcohol, and safety violations.
America's trucking industry has also been improved. The number of motor carriers has more than doubled since regulatory barriers to competition were removed. Many of these new carriers are small or minority-owned businesses. Private enterprise has thus been able to restructure routes, reduce empty backhauls, and simplify rates. Reduced regulation saves the American consumer $37 billion annually in lower freight bills, making businesses in every part of America more competitive.
The successful sale of Conrail through a public offering recouped nearly $2 billion dollars of the taxpayers' investment in bankrupt railroads from the 1970s.
The Reagan-Bush Administration has undertaken a comprehensive program to upgrade federal interstate highways and bridges.
Through highway improvements, education, and federal encouragement of tougher State laws against drunk driving, highway safety has vastly improved.
As we look to the future, the Republican Party will continue to press for improved transportation safety, reduced costs, and greater availability and convenience of transportation through more open markets and other mechanisms. The Republican Party believes that:
Americans demand that those entrusted with their safety while operating commercial motor vehicles, railroads, or aircraft not use drugs or alcohol. While we will protect individual rights, the Republican Party supports comprehensive efforts to curb drug and alcohol abuse in transportation, including drug and alcohol testing of all those in safety-related positions.
Our transportation system is based upon a vast public and private investment in infrastructure, which must continue to grow and to be maintained to meet America's needs. We advocate greater local autonomy in decision-making concerning the Highway Trust Fund and the Airport and Airway Trust Fund, and we oppose diversion of their resources to other purposes.
Research should be developed for new technologies to deal with urban gridlock and congested highways.
The travel and tourism industry is a positive force in enhancing cultural understanding and sustaining economic prosperity. We recognize its important contributions and should work to encourage its continued growth.
The federal government and local communities must work together to develop additional airport capacity of all types. At the same time, we support timely completion of the National Airspace System plan and continuing augmentation of air traffic control and aircraft inspection personnel.
We will further increase American jobs and trade opportunities by assuring that American air carriers are afforded full and fair access to international route authorities.
We will not abandon the economic flexibility that has so enormously strengthened the health of our railroads and so powerfully benefited the American economy.
Development of high speed rail systems to meet the needs of inter-city travel should be encouraged.
Year by year since 1981, Amtrak operations have shown improvement. Amtrak's ratio of revenues to costs stood at 48 percent in 1981. Last year, 65 percent of the costs were covered by revenues. Fiscal year 1988 will see the ratio pushing 70 percent. We recognize that inter-city rail passenger service plays an important role in our transportation system. At the same time, we support continued reductions in public subsidies.
A new spirit of competitive enterprise in transportation throughout all levels of government should be encouraged. We will encourage both States and cities to utilize private companies, where effective, to operate commuter bus and transit services at substantial savings over what publicly funded systems cost.
The engines of innovation powered by regulatory reform have brought forth exciting advances in the technology of trucking, rail, and shipping, particularly as they work together as an integrated system for the movement of goods domestically and abroad. Alternative fuels that are clean and efficient will both improve air quality and reduce our dependence on imported oil in meeting transportation needs. These technological approaches are far preferable to outmoded regulation, such as the current design of Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, which create substantial advantages for foreign auto manufacturers and actually promote the export of U.S. jobs.
We consider a privately owned merchant fleet and domestic shipbuilding capacity necessary to carry our nation's commerce in peace and to support our defense responsibilities. We will support programs to give the American maritime industry greater flexibility and freedom in meeting foreign competition.
We are committed to continuing the Reagan-Bush Administration efforts to stop foreign protectionism that inhibits U.S. flag vessels from fairly competing abroad.
Maritime safety, search and rescue, military preparedness, environmental and fisheries enforcement, and drug interdiction have long been the responsibility of the U.S. Coast Guard. The Republican Party supports all of these vital roles, and we will support funding and manpower adequate to enable the Coast Guard to carry out its responsibilities.
America Leading The World
Under the leadership of President Ronald Reagan and Vice President George Bush, America has led the world through eight years of peace and prosperity.
In the years since 1980, our nation has become in fact what it has always been in principle, "the last best hope of mankind on earth."
Republicans know that free nations are peace loving and do not threaten other democracies. To the extent, therefore, that democracies are established in the world, America will be safer. Consequently, our nation has a compelling interest to encourage and help actively to build the conditions of democracy wherever people strive for freedom.
In 1961, President John Kennedy said, "We shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and success of liberty." Seeds sown by the Reagan-Bush Administration to make good on that promise are now bearing fruit.
Today's Republican Party has the only legitimate claim to this legacy, for our opposition to totalitarianism is resolute. For those Democrats who came of age politically under the party of Truman and Kennedy, the message is clear: The old Democrat world view of realistic anti-communism, with real freedom as its goal, has been abandoned by today's national Democrat Party.
In the tradition of the Republican Party, we have long-term foreign policy goals and objectives which provide vision and leadership. We also have a realistic, long-term strategy to match those goals. The primary objectives of foreign policy must be defending the United States of America and its people; protecting America's vital national interests abroad; and fostering peace, stability and security throughout the world through democratic self-determination and economic prosperity.
To accomplish these goals, we believe our policies must be built upon three basic pillars: strength, realism, and dialogue.
Republican foreign policy, based on a peace preserved by steadfastly providing for our own security, brought us the INF treaty, which eliminated an entire class of nuclear weapons. America's determination and will, coupled with our European allies' staunch cooperation, brought the Soviets to the bargaining table and won meaningful reductions in nuclear weapons. The INF treaty was not won by unilateral concessions or the unilateral cancelling of weapons programs.
Today's Republican foreign policy has been tested and validated. Our formula for success is based on a realistic assessment of the world as it is, not as some would like it to be. The Soviet retreat from Afghanistan is not the result of luck or the need of the Kremlin to save a few rubles. It is a direct result of a Republican policy known as the Reagan Doctrine: our determination to provide meaningful aid to people who would rather die on their feet than live on their knees under the yoke of Soviet-supported oppression. Support for freedom-fighters, coupled with an openness to negotiate, will be the model for our resistance to Marxist expansionism elsewhere.
The world expects the United States to lead. Republicans believe it is in our country's best interest to continue to do so. For this reason, we will engage both our adversaries and friends. We share a common interest in survival and peaceful competition. However, the Reagan-Bush Administration has shown that dialogue and engagement can be successful only if undertaken from a position of strength. We know something the national Democrats seem to have forgotten: If a foreign policy is based upon weakness or unrealistic assumptions about the world, it is doomed to failure. If it is based upon naivete, it will be doomed to disaster.
Under our constitutional system, the execution of foreign policy is the prime responsibility of the executive branch. We therefore denounce the excessive interference in this function by the current Democrat majority in the Congress, as it creates the appearance of weakness and confusion and endangers the successful conduct of American foreign policy.
The world in 1988 shows the success of peace through strength and the Reagan Doctrine advancing America's national interests. Our relations with the Soviets are now based on these determined and realistic policies. Results such as the INF treaty are a concrete example of the soundness of this approach:
The Afghan people are on the verge of ridding their country of Soviet occupation, and with our continued support they can secure true liberty.
In Southeast Asia, our policies of isolation toward Vietnam and our support for the Cambodian resistance have contributed to Vietnam's decision to get out of Cambodia.
In southern Africa, Cuban troops may soon be leaving Angola; Namibia may soon enjoy independence.
The Iran-Iraq war is closer to a settlement due to the strong leadership of the Reagan-Bush Administration in the United Nations and the American presence in the Persian Gulf.
The party Abraham Lincoln helped to establish --the party of Teddy Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan, and George Bush --today offers the United States of America continued leadership, strong and effective. The President of the United States must be a good Commander-in-Chief; the Oval Office is no place for on-the-job training. The Republican Party, tempered by real-world experience, accustomed to making tough choices, is prepared to lead America forward into the 1990s.
Our future is intimately tied to the future of the Americas. Family, language, culture, environment, and trade link us closely with both Canada and Mexico. Our relations with both of these friends will be based upon continuing cooperation and our mutually shared interests. Our attention to trade and environmental issues will contribute to strong economic growth and prosperity throughout the Americas.
Today, more Latin Americans than ever before live free because of their partnership with the United States to promote self-determination, democracy, and an end to subversion. The Republican Party reaffirms its strong support of the Monroe Doctrine as the foundation for our policy throughout the Hemisphere, and pledges to conduct foreign policy in accord with its principles. We thereby seek not only to provide for our own security, but also to create a climate for democracy and self-determination throughout the Americas.
Central America has always been a region of strategic importance to the United States. There, Nicaragua has become a Soviet client state like Cuba. Democratic progress in the region is threatened directly by the Sandinista military machine and armed subversion exported from Nicaragua, Cuba, and the Soviet Union. The Sandinistas are now equipped with Soviet arms which, in quality and quantity, are far in excess of their own defense requirements.
The people of Nicaragua are denied basic human, religious, and political rights by the Sandinista junta. Today, thousands of Nicaraguans are united in a struggle to free their homeland from a totalitarian regime. The Republican Party stands shoulder to shoulder with them in this struggle and is committed to assist them with both humanitarian and military aid. Peace without freedom for the Nicaraguan people is not good enough.
If democracy does not prevail, if Nicaragua remains a communist dictatorship dedicated to exporting revolution, the fragile democracies in Central America will be jeopardized. The Republican Party stands with them in their struggle for peace, freedom, and economic growth. We express our emphatic support for the people and government of El Salvador, a target of foreign-directed insurgency. Under Republican leadership, the United States should respond to requests from our Central American neighbors for security assistance to protect their emerging democracies against insurgencies sponsored by the Soviets, Cuba, or others.
Democracy continues to prosper in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and in Costa Rica, the region's oldest democracy. However, economic growth in these countries has not matched their political progress. The United States must take the lead in strengthening democratic institutions through economic development based on free market principles. We pledge our continued support to the peoples of the Americas who embrace and sustain democratic principles in their self-government.
A Republican Administration will continue to promote policy reforms to free the private sector in Central America, such as deregulation of enterprise and privatization of government operations. We will assist friendly democracies in reviving the institutions of regional economic cooperation and integration, and will allow Nicaragua to participate when it enjoys a free, pluralist society and respects free-market principles.
The growth of democracy and freedom throughout Latin America is one of the most positive foreign policy developments of the 1980s. Republican leadership has created the environment necessary for this growth. Over the past decade, Latin Americans have moved boldly toward democracy, with 26 of 33 nations now democratic or in transition toward democracy. Mexico has a special strategic and economic importance to the United States, and we encourage close cooperation across a wide variety of fronts in order to strengthen further this critical relationship.
We believe the governments of Latin America must band together to defeat the drug trade which now flourishes in the region. We must pledge our full cooperation and support for efforts to induce producers of illicit drug crops to substitute other methods of generating income.
Republicans will continue to oppose any normalization of relations with the government of Cuba as long as Fidel Castro continues to oppress the Cuban people at home and to support international terrorism and drug trafficking abroad. We will vigorously continue our support for establishment of a genuinely representative government directly elected by the Cuban people. We reiterate our support of Radio Marti and urge the creation of TV Marti to better reach the oppressed people of Cuba.
Panama now poses a different challenge to the regional progress made over the past eight years. Our policy must be as firm with respect to military authoritarianism and narco-terrorism as it is with communist tyranny and guerrilla subversion. That policy must include a determined effort to bring to justice any identified narco-terrorist or drug dealer within his or her country of residence or in the courts of the United States of America. Republicans view the Panama Canal as a critical, strategic artery connecting the Atlantic and Pacific. We believe that U.S. access to the Panama Canal must remain free and unencumbered consistent with the foremost principle of the Canal Treaty. We acknowledge, however, the historical partnership and friendship between the American and Panamanian people.
Republicans believe that an active, engaged America, clear of purpose and steady in action, is essential to continued progress in Latin America. Passivity and neglect are a sure prescription for the reversal of freedom and peace in Latin America.
The Soviet Union: New Challenges and Enduring Realities
Steady American leadership is needed now more than ever to deal with the challenges posed by a rapidly changing Soviet Union. Americans cannot afford a future administration which eagerly attempts to embrace perceived, but as yet unproven, changes in Soviet policy. Nor can we indulge naive inexperience or an overly enthusiastic endorsement of current Soviet rhetoric.
The current leaders in the Soviet Union came to power while the United States was undergoing an unsurpassed political, economic, and military resurgence. The Reagan-Bush success story --new jobs and unprecedented economic growth combined with reasserted leadership of the free world --was not lost on the new Soviet regime. It had inherited a bankrupt economy, a society with a Third World standard of living, and military power based upon the sweat of the Soviet worker. Confronted by the failure of their system, the new Soviet leaders have been forced to search for new solutions.
Republicans are proud that it was a Republican President who extended freedom's hand and message to the Soviet Union. It will be a new Republican President who can best build on that progress, ever cautious of communism's long history of expansionism and false promises. We are prepared to embrace real reform, but we will not leave America unprepared should reform prove illusory.
Soviet calls for global peace and harmony ring hollow when compared with ongoing Soviet support for communist guerrillas and governments throughout the Third World. Even in Afghanistan, the Soviet Union is in retreat not as a result of a more benevolent Soviet world view, but because of the courage of determined Mujahidin freedom-fighters fully supported by the United States.
The Soviet military continues to grow. Tanks and aircraft continue to roll off Soviet production lines at a rate two to three times that of the United States. Soviet military doctrine remains offensive in nature, as illustrated by the intimidating presence of massed Soviet tank divisions in Eastern Europe. This is the reality of Soviet military posture.
With a realistic view of the Soviet Union and the appropriate role of arms reductions in the U.S.-Soviet relationship, the Reagan-Bush Administration concluded the historic INF agreement with the Soviet Union. Ongoing negotiations with the Soviet Union to reduce strategic nuclear weapons by 50 percent are possible because the American people trust Republican leadership. The American people know that, for Republicans, no agreement is better than an agreement detrimental to the security of the free world. To pursue arms control for its own sake or at any cost is naive and dangerous.
Republicans will continue to work with the new Soviet leadership. But the terms of the relationship will be based upon persistent and steady attention to certain fundamental principles:
Human and religious rights in the Soviet Union.
Economic reform in the Soviet Union.
Cessation of Soviet support for communist regimes, radical groups, and terrorists.
Verified full compliance with all arms control agreements. The right of free emigration for all Soviet citizens.
Reduction in the Soviets' massive offensive strategic and conventional capability. In other words, Soviet military doctrine must match its rhetoric.
An end to untied credits, particularly general purpose loans which provide the Soviet Union with desperately needed hard currency to bolster its weak economy and facilitate illicit Soviet purchase of U.S. technology.
Republicans proudly reaffirm the Reagan Doctrine: America's commitment to aid freedom-fighters against the communist oppression which destroys freedom and the human spirit. We salute the liberation of Grenada. We affirm our support for the heroic fighters in the Afghan resistance and pledge to see them through to the end of their struggle. We pledge political and material support to democratic liberation movements around the world.
Republicans believe human rights are advanced most where freedom is advanced first. We call on the Soviet government to release political prisoners, allow free emigration for "refuseniks" and others, and introduce full religious tolerance. Soviet Jews, Christians, Armenians, and other ethnic and religious groups are systematically persecuted, denied the right to emigrate, and prevented from freely practicing their religious beliefs. This situation is intolerable, and Republicans demand an end to all of these discriminatory practices.
We support the desire for freedom and self-determination of all those living in Captive Nations. The Republican Party denounces the oppression of the national free will of Poles, Hungarians, Czechoslovakians, East Germans, Bulgarians, Romanians, and Albanians. We support the desire for freedom of Estonians, Latvians, Lithuanians, Ukrainians, the people of the Caucasus, and other peoples held captive in the Soviet Union. We support the Solidarity free trade union movement in Poland.
We find the violation of human rights on the basis of religion or culture to be morally repugnant to the values we hold. Historical tragedies --like the Holocaust or the terrible persecution suffered by the Armenian people --vividly remind us of the need for vigilance in protecting and promoting human rights. We and others must ensure that such tragedies occur never again.
The Republican Party commends the Reagan-Bush Administration for its far-sighted efforts to modernize our electronic tools of public diplomacy to reach the Captive Nations. The Voice of America, Worldnet, Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty are on the leading edge of our public diplomacy efforts. These electronic means of communication are force-multipliers of truth. They attack one of the darkest pillars of totalitarianism: the oppression of people through the control of information. We urge the further use of advanced technologies such as Direct Broadcast Satellites and videotape, as well as continuing use of television and radio broadcasting, to articulate the values of individual liberty throughout the world.
Combatting Narcotics: Defending Our Children
By eradication at the source, interdiction in transit, education and deterrence against use, prompt extradition of drug kingpins, or rehabilitation, America must be drug free. No nation can remain free when its children are enslaved by drugs.
We consider drugs a major national security threat to the United States.
We urge all nations to unite against this evil. Although we salute our hemispheric neighbors who are fighting the war on drugs, we expect all nations to help stop this deadly commerce. We pledge aggressive interdiction and eradication, with strong penalties against countries which shield or condone the narcotics traffic.
Republicans are proud of the fact that we have dramatically increased the interdiction of dangerous drugs. For example, over the past 6 years, our annual seizure of cocaine has increased by over 1,500 percent. While much has been accomplished in eradicating drugs at the source and in transit, much more remains to be done.
We will use our armed forces in the war on drugs to the maximum extent possible. We must emphasize their special capabilities in surveillance and command and control for interdiction and in special operations for eradication of drugs at the source.
To fight international drug trade, we will stress the swift extradition of traffickers. We support a comprehensive use of America's resources to apprehend and convict drug dealers. To enforce anti-drug policy, we pledge to enhance eradication efforts with increased herbicide use; regulate exports of "precursor chemicals" used in the manufacture of illicit drugs; train and equip cooperating government law-enforcement agencies; emphasize a strategy to "choke off" drug supply routes; and impose the death penalty for drug kingpins and those who kill federal law enforcement agents.
Europe and the Defense of the West
The United States and Europe share a wide array of political, economic, and military relationships, all vitally important to the United States. Together they represent a growing, multifaceted bond between America and the European democracies.
Culturally, as well as militarily, we share common goals with Western Europe. The preservation of liberty is first among these. We will not allow the cultural, economic, or political domination of Western Europe by the Soviet Union. Our own national security requires it, for our democracy cannot flourish in isolation. The United States, led by the Reagan-Bush Administration, and our European allies have successfully reasserted democracy's ideological appeal. This formula is without equal for political and economic progress.
Republicans believe that the continued growth of trade between Europe and the United States is in the best interest of both the American people and their European friends. However, this economic relationship must be based upon the principle of free and fair trade. Protectionism and other barriers to American products will not be tolerated. The American people demand economic fair play in U. S.-European trade.
The recently signed INF treaty has proven that NATO's dual track policy of improving NATO nuclear forces in Europe, while negotiating arms reductions with the Soviet Union, was the only way to make the Soviet leadership accept meaningful nuclear arms reductions. NATO's cohesion as an alliance, when assaulted by Soviet propaganda attacks during the 1980s, proved its resilience. Bolstered by the strong leadership of the United States, Europe stood firm in opposing Soviet demands for a nuclear freeze and unilateral disarmament.
American aid and European industriousness have restored West Europe to a position of global strength. In accord with this, the Republican Party believes that all members of NATO should bear their fair share of the defense burden.
Republicans consider consultation and cooperation with our allies and friends to stop the proliferation of ballistic missile technology a crucial allied goal. We believe that continued support for the Strategic Defense Initiative will yield the type of defensive insurance policy the American people want for themselves and their allies.
We share a deep concern for peace and justice in Northern Ireland and condemn all violence and terrorism in that strife-torn land. We support the process of peace and reconciliation established by the Anglo-Irish Agreement, and we encourage new investment and economic reconstruction in Northern Ireland on the basis of strict equality of opportunity and non-discrimination in employment.
The Republican Party strongly encourages the peaceful settlement of the long-standing dispute on Cyprus.
The future of U.S. relations with Europe is one of endless opportunity and potential. Increased cooperation and consultation will necessarily lead to greater economic, political and military integration, thus strengthening the natural bonds between the democratic peoples on both sides of the Atlantic. This will require a seasoned American leadership, able to build on the achievements of the Reagan-Bush Administration and prepared to lead the alliance into the 1990s and beyond.
Asia and the Pacific
Democratic capitalism is transforming Asia. Nations of the Pacific Rim have become colleagues in the enterprise of freedom. They have shown a strong capacity for economic growth and capital development.
The Asia-Pacific arena continues to be a vital strategic interest for the U.S. and is an area of increased military, economic, and diplomatic activity for the Soviet Union.
Japan has assumed the role earned by her people as a world economic power. The GOP believes that our relations can only be strengthened by attacking trade barriers, both tariff and non-tariff, which not only hurt the U.S. now but also will eventually distort Japan's own economy. We believe that it is time for Japan to assume a greater role in this region and elsewhere. This should include a greater commitment to its own defense, commitment to leading the way in alleviating Third World debt, and fostering economic growth in fragile democracies.
Today, democracy is renewed on Taiwan, the Philippines, and South Korea and is emerging elsewhere in the area. We pledge full cooperation in mutual defense of the Philippines and South Korea and the maintenance of our troops and bases vital for deterring aggression. The United States, with its friends and allies, will strengthen democratic institutions in the Philippines by assisting in its economic development and growth. We reaffirm our commitment to the security of Taiwan and other key friends and allies in the region. We regard any attempt to alter Taiwan's status by force as a threat to the entire region. We adhere to the Taiwan Relations Act, the basis for our continuing cooperation with those who have loyally stood with us, and fought at our side, for half a century.
Today, the communist regime of the People's Republic of China looks to free market practices to salvage its future from stagnant Marxism. We welcome this development. As we draw closer in our relationship, the Republican Party believes that we must continue to encourage the abandonment of political repression in the People's Republic of China and movement toward a free market. We also look toward continued improvement in mutually beneficial trade between our two nations.
We recognize the significant progress made by the Reagan-Bush Administration to assure the end of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. We will continue to press for self-determination and the establishment of a genuinely representative government directly elected by the Afghan people. We pledge to continue full military and humanitarian support and supplies for the resistance until complete Soviet withdrawal is realized.
We commend the government of Pakistan for its opposition to the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and its support of the Afghan people, particularly its refugees. We reaffirm our friendship and will continue the strong security assistance relationship between the United States and Pakistan.
We will press for the withdrawal of Vietnamese occupation of Laos and Cambodia and will continue support for the efforts of the non-communist resistance.
Republicans insist that Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia must provide adequate information on American POWs and MIAs. The grief of the POW and MIA families is a constant reminder to all Americans of the patriotic sacrifice made by their missing loved ones. Republicans will not rest until we know the fate of those missing in Indochina. We will continue to press relentlessly for a full accounting of America's POWs and MIAs. We put the government of Vietnam on notice that there will be no improvement in U.S.-Vietnam relations until such a satisfactory full accounting has been provided by the government of Vietnam.
Republicans are committed to providing assistance for refugees fleeing Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. Republicans strongly believe that the promise of asylum for these refugees must be met by adequate resources and vigorous administration of refugee programs. We will increase efforts to resettle Vietnamese refugees under the orderly departure program. We are particularly committed to assisting the resettlement of Amerasian children against whom brutal discrimination is practiced.
We recognize the close and special ties we have maintained with Thailand since the days of Abraham Lincoln. Thailand stands tall against the imperialist aggression of Vietnam and the Soviet Union in Southeast Asia.
Republicans strongly support our traditional close bilateral relations with our ally Australia. We also look forward to a rejuvenation of the ANZUS alliance with its benefits and responsibilities to all partners.
The Middle East
The foundation of our policy in the Middle East has been and must remain the promotion of a stable and lasting peace, recognizing our moral and strategic relationship with Israel. More than any of its predecessors, the Reagan-Bush Administration solidified this partnership. As a result, the relations between the United States and Israel are closer than ever before.
We will continue to maintain Israel's qualitative advantage over any adversary or coalition of adversaries.
We will continue to solidify our strategic relationship with Israel by taking additional concrete steps to further institutionalize the partnership. This will include maintaining adequate levels of security and economic assistance; continuing our meetings on military, political and economic cooperation and coordination; prepositioning military equipment; developing joint contingency plans; and increasing joint naval and air exercises. The growth of the Soviets military presence in the Eastern Mediterranean and along NATO's southern flank has demonstrated the importance of developing and expanding the U. S.-Israel strategic relationship.
We oppose the creation of an independent Palestinian state; its establishment is inimical to the security interests of Israel, Jordan and the U.S. We will not support the creation of any Palestinian entity that could place Israel's security in jeopardy.
Republicans will build upon the efforts of the Reagan-Bush Administration and work for peace between Israel and her Arab neighbors based upon the following principles:
A just and lasting peace is essential, urgent, and can be reached only through direct negotiations between Israel and the Arab nations.
Peace treaties must be reached through direct negotiations and must never be imposed upon unwilling partners.
The PLO should have no role in the peace process unless it recognizes Israel's right to exist, accepts United Nations Security Council resolutions 242 and 338, renounces terrorism, and removes language from its charter demanding Israel's destruction.
Under Republican leadership, the United States will explore every opportunity to move forward the peace process toward direct negotiations as long as the security of Israel is not compromised. Much work remains to establish a climate in the Middle East where the legitimate rights of all parties, including the Palestinians, can be equitably addressed.
We recognize that Israel votes with the United States at the United Nations more frequently than any other nation. The Reagan-Bush Administration supported legislation mandating that if the U.N. and its agencies were to deny Israel's right to participate, the United States would withhold financial support and withdraw from those bodies until their action was rectified. The Republican Party reaffirms its support for the recision of U.N. Resolution 3379, which equates Zionism with racism. Failure to repeal that resolution will justify attenuation of our support for the U.N.
We believe that Jerusalem should remain an undivided city, with free and unimpeded access to all holy places by people of all faiths.
Republicans see Egypt as a catalyst in the Arab world for advancing the cause of regional peace and security. For this reason, we believe that the United States has a significant stake in Egypt's continuing economic development and growth. As the only Arab nation to have formally made peace with Israel, it is reaping the benefits. Egypt's support of the Camp David Accords demonstrates that an Arab nation can make peace with Israel, be an ally of the United States, and remain in good standing in the Arab world. Republicans support the Reagan-Bush Administration's formal designation of Egypt as a major non-NATO ally.
Our continued support of Egypt and other pro-Western Arab states is an essential component of Republican policy. In support of that policy, we deployed a naval task force to join with allies to keep the sea lanes open during the Iran-Iraq war. We also recognize the important role the moderate Arab states play in supporting U.S. security interests.
Republicans will continue to build on the Reagan-Bush achievement of increased security cooperation with the pro-Western Arab states. We recognize that these Arab nations maintain friendly relations with the United States in the face of potential retaliation attempts by radical elements in the Middle East.
Continuing strife in Lebanon is not in the interest of the U.S. Until order is established, Lebanon will be a source of international terrorism and regional instability. To reestablish normalcy in Lebanon, the U.S. must strengthen the hand of the overwhelming majority of Lebanese, who are committed to an independent, peaceful, and democratic Lebanon.
In order to achieve this goal, we will base the policy of the United States on the principles of the unity of Lebanon; the withdrawal of all foreign forces; the territorial integrity of Lebanon; the reestablishment of its government's authority; and the reassertion of Lebanese sovereignty throughout the nation, with recognition that its safekeeping must be the responsibility of the Lebanese government. We will strive to help Lebanon restore its society so that, in the future as in the past, religious groups will live in harmony, international commerce will flourish and international terrorism will not exist.
For nearly four decades, U.S. policy in the Persian Gulf has reflected American strategic, economic, and political interests in the area. Republican policy has three fundamental objectives:
Maintaining the free flow of oil.
Preventing the expansion of Soviet influence.
Supporting the independence and stability of the states in the region.
By pursuing these goals, we have created the political leverage to begin the process of ending the Iran-Iraq war. Our re-flagging of Kuwaiti ships limited the expansion of both Iranian and Soviet influence in the region.
Republicans have three priorities in our country' s relations with Africa. The first is to oppose the forces of Marxist imperialism, which sustain the march of tyranny in Africa. This priority includes giving strong assistance to groups which oppose Soviet and Cuban-sponsored oppression in Africa.
Our second priority is the need to develop and sustain democracies in Africa. Democrats have often taken the view that democracy is unattainable because of Africa's economic condition, yet at the same time they refuse to promote the conditions in which democracies can flourish. Economic freedom and market-based economies are the key to the development of democracy throughout Africa.
Our third area of concern is humanitarian assistance, especially food aid, to African nations. The Reagan-Bush Administration has always provided this assistance.
Republicans salute the Reagan-Bush Administration for responding with characteristic American compassion to famine conditions in Africa by providing record amounts of food, medical supplies, and other lifesaving assistance. In spite of our efforts, the people of Africa continue to suffer. Republicans condemn the cynical Marxist governments, especially in Ethiopia, which used planned starvation as a weapon of war and a tool for forced migration.
The recent African drought and resulting famine were not just natural disasters. They were made worse by poorly conceived development projects which stripped lands of their productive capacity. Republicans recognize that protecting the natural resource base of developing nations is essential to protecting future economic opportunities and assuring stable societies. We are leading the fight worldwide to require sound environmental planning as part of foreign development programs.
We believe that peace in southern Africa can best be achieved by the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Angola, complete independence and self-determination for the people of Namibia, a rapid process of internal reconciliation, and free and fair elections in both places. The Reagan-Bush Administration has worked tirelessly to achieve this outcome; and while obstacles remain, we are closer than ever to a comprehensive settlement of these interrelated conflicts. America's strong support for Angolan freedom-fighters has helped make this progress possible. We also oppose the maintenance of communist forces and influence in Mozambique.
Republicans deplore the apartheid system of South Africa and consider it morally repugnant. All who value human liberty understand the evil of apartheid, and we will not rest until apartheid is eliminated from South Africa. That will remain our goal. Republicans call for an effective and coordinated policy that will promote equal rights and a peaceful transition to a truly representative constitutional form of government for all South Africans and the citizens of all nations throughout Africa. We deplore violence employed against innocent blacks and whites from whatever source.
We believe firmly that one element in the evolution of black political progress must be black economic progress; actions designed to pressure the government of South Africa must not have the effect of adversely affecting the rising aspirations and achievements of black South African entrepreneurs and workers and their families. We should also encourage the development of strong democratic black political institutions to aid in the peaceful transition to majority rule. Republicans believe that it is wrong to punish innocent black South Africans for the policies of the apartheid government of South Africa.
Child Survival Program
The health of children in the developing countries of Asia, Africa, the Near East, Latin America and the Caribbean has been a priority of the Reagan-Bush Administration. Republicans have designated the Child Survival Program as one of our highest foreign assistance priorities. With the creation of the Child Survival Fund in early 1985, we have helped to ensure that children in developing countries worldwide get a decent start in life.
Our commitment to the Child Survival Program is more than a compassionate response to this challenge. It is in part an indication of the success of the program. Child Survival funding has been put to good use, and it is making a difference. Experience has shown that a few dollars go a long way in saving a child's life.
Republican efforts have seen results. The pilot studies begun by the Reagan-Bush Administration a few years ago have resulted in child survival programs that today are reaching hundreds of thousands of women and children in the developing world. Policies are in place, health workers are trained, and host governments throughout the world are committed to child survival programs.
Republicans are committed to continuing our contribution to this vital program. As we look forward to the 1990s, many countries will have achieved what only a few years ago seemed like unattainable goals. Those countries need to find ways to sustain those achievements. It will not be easy. For other countries, the road to these goals will be longer as they strive to give every child what should be his or her birthright, a chance to thrive.
We can help them. We can provide leadership and support. We are committed to sustaining this effort to save and improve the lives of the world's children.
We commend the Reagan-Bush Administration for its courageous defense of human life in population programs around the world. We support its refusal to fund international organizations involved in abortion.
Stopping International Terrorism and Dealing with Low Intensity Conflict
The nature of warfare itself has changed. Terrorism is a unique form of warfare that attacks and threatens security and stability around the world. Ranging from the attempted assassination of the Pope and car-bomb attacks on American USO clubs, to narco-subversion in the nations of the West, terrorism seeks to silence freedom as an inalienable right of Man.
The world of totalitarianism and anti-Western fanatics have joined forces in this campaign of terror. The goals of their undeclared war against the democracies are the withdrawal of our presence internationally and the retraction of our freedoms domestically.
The Republican Party believes that, in order to prevent terrorist attacks, the United States must maintain an unsurpassed intelligence capability. In cases of terrorism where prevention and deterrence are not enough, we believe that the United States must be prepared to use an appropriate mix of diplomatic, political, and military pressure and action to defeat the terrorist attack. The United States must continue to push for a Western commitment to a "no-concessions" policy on terrorism.
The Republican Party understands that many problems facing our country are centered on "Low Intensity Conflicts." These include insurgencies, organized terrorism, paramilitary actions, sabotage, and other forms of violence in the gray area between peace and declared conventional warfare. Unlike the Democrat Party, Republicans understand that the threat, against the vital interests of the United States covers a broad spectrum of conflict. We are committed to defending the people of the United States at all levels. To implement that commitment, we will rely on the planning and strategy of the U.S. Special Operations Command, the recently established Office of Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict and other Department of Defense offices.
We commend the Reagan-Bush Administration for its willingness to provide a measured response to terrorists such as Libya's Colonel Qadhafi. We affirm our determination to continue isolating his outlaw regime. We applaud the Reagan-Bush Administration's dispatch in implementing the Omnibus Diplomatic Security and Anti-Terrorism Act of 1986. We are strongly committed to obtaining the freedom of all Americans held captive by terrorist elements in the Middle East. Where possible, we will hold accountable those responsible for such heinous acts. We also support foreign military assistance that enables friendly nations to provide for their own defense, including defense against terrorism.
We recognize the increasing threat of terrorism to our overall security. We will pursue a forward-leaning posture toward terrorism, and are prepared to act in concert with other nations or unilaterally, as necessary, to prevent or respond to terrorist attacks. Our policy will emphasize pre-emptive anti-terrorist measures; allied and international cooperation; negotiation toward an international agreement to facilitate pre-emptive and proactive measures against terrorists and narco-terrorists; and creation of a multi-national strike force, on the authority granted in a multi-national agreement, specializing in counterterrorism, intelligence and narcotics control.
Republicans believe that, when necessary, our own armed forces must have the capability to meet terrorist crises. Our support for defense forces specifically equipped and trained to conduct unconventional warfare has resulted in important improvements in this critical area. Under the Reagan-Bush Administration, major improvements have been made in the special operations force's readiness, manning, and modernization.
The Republican Party is strongly committed to increased support of unconventional forces by streamlining the bureaucracy which supports them, building the weapons and platforms which are a minimal requirement for their success, and funding the research and development needed for their future vigor. We wholeheartedly support greater international cooperation to counter terrorism and to ensure the safety of innocent citizens travelling abroad.
State Department Organization
The United States depends upon effective diplomacy to protect and advance its interests abroad. Modern diplomacy requires an institution capable of integrating the international dimension of our national values and concerns into a coherent foreign policy. That institution must be made fully responsive to the guidance and direction provided by our country's political leadership.
This requires a truly hierarchical decision-making structure in the Department of State to assure that issues not directly decided by the Secretary of State are not out of reach of politically accountable authority.
Republicans commend the efforts initiated by the Reagan Administration, and in particular the Secretary of State, to restructure and streamline management of the department in order to provide for greater flexibility, efficiency and accountability.
We will continue these efforts in the areas of organization, personnel, and responsiveness as part of a long-term program to make the Department of State more immediately responsive to a complex and changing world.
Peace Through Strength --A Proven Policy
Peace through strength is now a proven policy. We have modernized our forces, revitalized our military infrastructure, recruited and trained the most capable fighting force in American history. And we have used these tools with care, responsibility, and restraint.
The Reagan-Bush national security program has restored America's credibility in the world. Our security and that of our allies have been dramatically enhanced; the opportunities for the United States to be a positive force for freedom and democracy throughout the world have expanded, and the chances for new breakthroughs for peace have risen dramatically.
Republicans will build upon this record and advance the cause of world freedom and world peace by using our military credibility as a vehicle for security at home and peace abroad.
These new opportunities for peace and world freedom pose new challenges to America.
The INF Treaty, the first treaty to actually reduce the number of nuclear weapons, was made possible by our commitment to peace through strength. It will impose new demands on our armed forces. We will redouble our commitment to correct a dangerous imbalance of conventional forces both through negotiation and through force improvements.
The Carter administration left our armed forces in a dangerously weakened position. Ten of the Army's 16 divisions were rated as "not combat ready" due to shortages of skilled manpower, spare parts, fuel, ammunition, and training. For the same reasons, more than 40 percent of the U.S. Air Force and Navy combat aircraft were not fully mission-capable.
The vacillating, ineffectual defense policies of the Democrat presidential nominee would similarly weaken our national security. His ideas about strategic weapons are not only out of step with the thinking of the vast majority of Americans, but also in direct conflict with those of his vice presidential running mate and most of the leading Democrats on the Senate and House Armed Services Committees.
Republicans will support U.S. defense capabilities by keeping our economy strong and inflation rates low. Continued economic growth will allow more dollars to be available for defense without consuming a larger portion of the GNP or the federal budget; continued efficiency and economy will assure those dollars are well-spent.
Even as we engage in dialogue with our adversaries to reduce the risks of war, we must continue to rely on nuclear weapons as our chief form of deterrence. This reliance will, however, move toward non-nuclear defensive weapon systems as we deploy the Strategic Defense System. We will greatly enhance security by making the transition from an all-offensive balance of nuclear terror to a deterrent that emphasizes non-nuclear defense against attack.
We must improve conventional deterrence that would prevent our adversaries from being able to advance successfully into allied territory. We stand in unity with our European allies in the conviction that neither a nuclear war nor a conventional war should be fought. Nonetheless, we must stay on the cutting edge of weapon system development and deployment to deter Soviet aggression in Europe and throughout the free world.
Only by maintaining our strength and resolve can we secure peace in the years ahead. Republicans will provide the steady leadership needed to move our nation effectively into the 21st century.
We have begun a historic transition from an America threatened by nuclear weapons to an America defended against the possibility of a devastating nuclear attack.
We understand the ominous implications of the proliferation of ballistic missile technology in the Third World. The Reagan-Bush Administration has succeeded in negotiating an agreement among the seven leading industrial countries to stop the spread of this technology. This underscores the need for deployment of the Strategic Defense System commonly known as SDI. SDI represents America's single most important defense program and is the most significant investment we can make in our nation's future security.
SDI is already working for America. It brought the Soviets back to the bargaining table, and it has energized and challenged our research and technology community as never before. It has started to reverse the trend of unmatched heavy Soviet investment in strategic defense. Republicans insist it is unacceptable that today the citizens of Moscow are protected against ballistic missile attack while Americans have no such protection.
The SDI program has been structured to facilitate a smooth transition to a safer world. It emphasizes deployments based upon the following objectives:
Providing protection against an accidental or unauthorized launch of a nuclear missile or an attack by a rogue nation.
Changing the emphasis of our deterrent from nuclear offense to non-nuclear defensive weapons and providing the only real safeguard against cheating on offensive arms control agreements.
Ultimately, providing a comprehensive defense against all ballistic missile attacks.
We are committed to rapid and certain deployment of SDI as technologies permit, and we will determine the exact architecture of the system as technologies are tested and proven.
In response to the dangerous proliferation of ballistic missiles, a joint U.S.-Israel effort is now underway to produce the free world's first anti-tactical ballistic missile system, "Project Arrow." We will support this use of SDI research funds.
The Democrat nominee for president opposes deployment of any SDI system. He opposes deployment of even a limited ballistic missile defense system to protect Americans against missile attacks that might be launched accidentally or by an outlaw ruler with access to a few nuclear weapons. His position contradicts the sponsorship by certain Democrats in Congress of a system to protect Americans from such missile attacks.
In recognition of our responsibility to provide optimum protection for the American people from terrorists, accidents and --should deterrence fail --from war, we also believe that a high priority should be given to Civil Defense.
Republicans want to begin with protection and add to deterrence. We applaud the leaders of the scientific community for their confidence in the ability of U.S. technology to enhance deterrence and to provide effective defenses. We urge the universities of our country to continue to cooperate with the government and the private sector in establishing the SDI system.
A Strategy for Deterrence
Republicans will implement a strategic modernization program, emphasizing offensive and defensive strategic forces that are affordable and credible and that provide for a more stable balance. In contrast with the Democrat nominee and his party, we will not jeopardize America's security and undermine the advances we have made for peace and freedom by permitting erosion of our nuclear deterrent.
Over the past 30 years, every administration --Democrat and Republican alike --has understood the importance of maintaining a strategic triad: a mix of ground, air and sea retaliatory forces. Republicans know our country needs a survivable land-based leg of the triad. The current Democrat leadership rejects this integral element of our strategic force posture. This will destroy the triad by neglecting necessary modernization and foregoing the strategic forces essential for preserving deterrence.
The most critical element in enabling the President to preserve peace is to assure his ability to communicate with foreign leaders and our armed forces under the most adverse circumstances. The Democrat nominee has acted to prevent a future President from having this ability by denying the federal government the needed approval to deploy key elements of the Ground Wave Emergency Network (GWEN) in Massachusetts. By doing so, he has demonstrated a shocking disregard for the security of all Americans. This nation cannot afford such irresponsible leadership from one who aspires to be our Commander-in-Chief.
To end our historic reliance on massive nuclear retaliation, we need to develop a comprehensive strategic defense system. This system will deter and protect us against deliberate or accidental ballistic missile attack, from whatever source.
In the conventional area, we need to ensure that our ground, naval, and air forces are outfitted with the finest equipment and weapons that modern technology can provide; we must also assure that they are fully capable of meeting any threats they may face. We put special emphasis on integrating the guard and reserves into effective combat forces. We must sustain and accelerate the progress we have already made to ensure that all of our forces are prepared for special operations warfare. In addition, advances in conventional weapons technology, specifically, "smart," highly accurate weaponry, must be accelerated. These new weapons will deter our adversaries by threatening significant targets with very precise conventional weapons. We must provide sealift and airlift capability needed to project and support U.S. forces anywhere in the world.
We must also deal with the reality of chemical and biological weapons. We must have a deterrent capability; that requires modernization of our own chemical weapons. But we must also strengthen our efforts to achieve a verifiable agreement to eliminate all chemical and biological weapons. Getting a completely verifiable agreement will be difficult, requiring tough, on-site, on-demand verification. It is, however, essential that we press ahead, particularly given the growing proclivity in some quarters to use chemical and biological weapons.
In each aspect of our deterrent force, Republicans propose to foster and take advantage of our technology and our democratic alliance systems to develop competing strategies for most effectively defending freedom around the world.
An Arms Reduction Strategy
Arms reduction can be an important aspect of our national policy only when agreements enhance the security of the United States and its allies. This is the Reagan-Bush legacy; true arms reductions as a means to improve U.S. security, not just the perception of East-West detente. Clear objectives, steady purpose, and tough negotiating, backed up by the Republican defense program, produced the INF Treaty. This is the first real nuclear arms reduction treaty in history. Until 1981, we had accepted arms "control" as simply a "managed" arms build-up, always waiting for the next agreement to reverse the trend. Republicans insist on mutual arms reductions. We have proven that there are no barriers to mutual reductions except a lack of will and strength to safely achieve them.
We cannot afford to return to failed Democrat approaches to arms control. Democrats treat arms control as an end in itself, over-emphasizing the atmospherics of East-West relations, making unilateral concessions, and reneging on the traditional U.S. commitment to those forces essential to U.S. and allied security. Notwithstanding their stated intentions, the Democrats' approach --particularly a nuclear freeze --would make nuclear war more, not less, likely.
Republicans are committed to completing the work the Reagan-Bush Administration has begun on an unprecedented 50 percent cut in strategic nuclear weapons. We will achieve verifiable and stable reductions by implementing the Republican agenda for a secure America:
We will consistently undertake necessary improvements in our forces to maintain the effectiveness of our deterrent.
We will not negotiate in areas which jeopardize our security. In particular, we will not compromise plans for the research, testing, or the rapid and certain deployment of SDI.
We will insist on effective verification of compliance with any and all treaties and will take proportional, compensatory actions in cases of non-compliance. Specifically, the Soviet ABM radar at Krasnoyarsk poses a clear violation of the ABM Treaty and, if not corrected, would constitute a "material breach" of the Treaty.
We will place special emphasis on negotiating asymmetrical Soviet cutbacks in those areas where a dangerous imbalance exists. For example, during the three-year regime of Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet military has added more new conventional weapons than currently exist in the entire armed forces of France and West Germany.
We will reject naive and dangerous proposals such as those offered by the Democrat nominee to ban the testing of weapons and delivery systems. Those simplistic and destabilizing proposals are designed only for domestic political appeal and would actually jeopardize achievement of stable arms reductions. The accuracies and efficiencies achieved by testing have in fact resulted in 25 percent fewer warheads and 75 percent less megatonnage than 20 years ago. Our more accurate weapons of today enhance stability.
We must always remember --and ever remind our fellow citizens --that, when the future of our country is at stake, no treaty at all is preferable to a bad treaty.
The Space Challenge
The Republican Party is determined to lead our country and the world into the 21st century with a revitalized space program. The American people have never turned back from a frontier.
Our exploration of space has kept this country on the leading edge of science, research, and technology. Our access to space is essential to our national security. In the coming decade, nations around the world will compete for the economic and military advantages afforded by space.
The free and unchallenged use of space offers to the free world, and the Soviet bloc as well, unprecedented strategic, scientific, and economic advantages. The Soviets openly seek these advantages, which must not be denied to the United States and other free nations. Our goal is for the United States to acquire the means to assure that we can enforce a stable and secure space environment for all peoples.
We must establish a permanent manned space station in orbit during the 1990s for a commercial and governmental space presence.
U.S. satellites currently act as the "eyes and ears" for our strategic forces. The survivability of U.S. space assets is vital to American interests.
We believe the U.S. needs an Anti-Satellite (ASAT) capability to protect our space assets from an operational Soviet threat, and we intend to deploy it rapidly. Furthermore, we encourage the responsible Democrat Members of Congress to join us in this effort. Our country's advance in space is essential to achieve the economic transformations which await us in the new century ahead.
Two powerful engines that can reenergize the space program will be competitive free enterprise and SDI. The United States must regain assured access to space through a balanced mix of space shuttles and unmanned vehicles. We must also expand the role --in investment, operation, and control --of the private sector. Republicans believe that this nation can and must develop a private sector capability to compete effectively in the world marketplace as a provider of launches and other services.
We applaud those who have pioneered America's rendezvous with the future. We salute those who have lifted the nation's spirit by raising its sights. We remember in special honor those who gave their lives to give our country a leading role in space.
America: A Strong Leader and Reliable Partner
NATO remains the United States' most important political and military alliance. Republican commitment to NATO is unwavering, reflecting shared political and democratic values which link Europe, Canada, and the United States. NATO pools our collective military resources and capabilities, stretching in Europe from Norway in the north to Turkey, our strategic friend and pillar in the south.
Our challenge is to assure that today's positive signals from the Soviets translate into a tangible reduction of their military threat tomorrow. Soviet conventional superiority remains a serious problem for NATO. Soviet-Warsaw Pact military doctrine continues to be predicated upon the Soviet Union's ability to mount a massive conventional offensive against the NATO allies. The NATO allies must strengthen their conventional forces, modernize their remaining nuclear systems, and promote rationalization, standardization and interoperability.
On the critical issues of defense burden sharing, Republicans reflect the belief of the American people that, although we must maintain a strong presence, the alliance has now evolved to a point where our European and Japanese allies, blessed with advanced economies and high standards of living, are capable of shouldering their fair share of our common defense burden.
We are committed to supporting the network of liberty through balanced regional or bilateral alliances with nations sharing our values in all parts of the world, especially our neighbors in Central America. The Republican Party reiterates its support of the people of Central America in their quest for freedom and democracy in their countries.
We are proud of the great economic and democratic progress throughout the world during the Reagan-Bush Administration, and we are committed to strengthening the defensive ties that have thwarted Soviet expansion in the past seven years.
Keeping the Sea Lanes Free
The United States has always been a maritime nation. We have rebuilt our Navy to permit continued freedom of the seas. Our focus has correctly been on the fighting ships our Navy would use in the event of a conflict. Our successful peace mission in the Persian Gulf is eloquent testimony to the benefits of a blue water Navy.
To protect American interests in remote areas of the world, we require a 600-ship navy with 15 aircraft carrier battle groups. This number enables us to operate in areas where we lack the infrastructure of bases we enjoy in Western Europe and the western Pacific. A force of this size will enable us to meet both our security interests and commitments into the 21st century. Republicans are also committed to the strategic homeporting of our forces throughout the United States. Notwithstanding the Democrat nominee's claim to support conventional arms improvements, U.S. security interests are jeopardized by his proposal to cancel two aircraft carriers previously authorized and funded by Congress.
Providing new policies for the maritime industry is crucial to this nation's defense capability and its economic strength. These policies must include leadership to help make the industries competitive through reform of government programs, aggressive efforts to remove barriers to the U.S. flag merchant fleet, and a commitment to cooperate with the industries themselves to improve their efficiency, productivity, and competitive positions.
A national commitment to revitalize the commercial shipbuilding industry is needed in this country. Shipyards and the supplier base for marine equipment necessary to build and maintain a merchant marine must survive and prosper. Our merchant marine must be significantly enlarged and become more competitive in order to vastly increase the amount and proportion of our foreign trade it carries.
Sealift is needed to supply our troops and transport commercial cargo during a prolonged national emergency. As a nation, we must be willing to pay for the strategic sealift capability we require. We can do this by ensuring that the needed ships are built and by helping to sustain the ships and their crews in commercial operation. We must return this nation to its foremost place among the world maritime powers through a comprehensive maritime policy.
Last year Congress slashed the Administration's budget request for the Coast Guard. We urge Congress to adjust the budget process to protect the Coast Guard appropriation, thereby removing the temptation to siphon its funds and personnel into other programs and ensuring improved coordination of government agencies in our nation's war against drugs.
Our Nation's Technology Base
Science and technology are the keys to a better future for all. Many of the miracles we take for granted in everyday life originated in defense and space research. They have not only helped preserve the peace, but also have made America's standard of living the envy of the world.
Because of advances in science and technology, our defense budget today is actually one-third lower, as a fraction of the gross national product, than it was a generation ago.
Today, national security and technological superiority are increasingly linked by the relationship between technology and key strategies of credible and flexible deterrence, defenses against ballistic missiles, and space pre-eminence.
Investment in defense research and development must be maintained at a level commensurate with the Reagan-Bush years. This investment should be focused on efficient and effective areas such as ballistic missile defense, space, command and control, and "smart" munitions.
We support a defense budget with the necessary funds and incentives for industry to invest in new technologies and new plant and equipment. This is needed to preserve and expand our competitive edge, thereby assuring future opportunities for America's next generation in science, engineering, and manufacturing.
Our nation will benefit greatly from patent royalties and technological progress that will be developed through spinoffs, especially in the fields of micro-miniaturization and super-conductivity, which are vital in order for U.S. industry to compete in the world.
We regard the education of American students in the fields of science and technology as vital to our national security.
Our investment in militarily critical knowledge and technology must be safeguarded against transfer to the Soviet Union and other unfriendly countries.
Americans are prepared to support defense spending adequate to meet the needs of our security. Americans have a right --and the government has a duty --to ensure that their hard-earned tax dollars are well-spent. We Republicans recognize that waste and fraud in the defense acquisition process cheat the American people and weaken our national security. Neither can be tolerated.
Those who loot national security funds must be prosecuted and punished. Mismanagement must also be rooted out. The planning and budgeting process must be improved, and the acquisition process reformed, recognizing that congressionally mandated waste contributes mightily to inefficiencies in the system.
We will sustain necessary appropriations in the defense budget to avoid the destructive impact of wildly fluctuating and unpredictable annual funding.
The Packard Commission recommended a series of important reforms for improved defense management. We are committed to ensuring that these reforms are fully implemented --by Congress, the Defense Department and the defense industry. Most particularly we call for submission of a two-year budget for defense to help us meet these goals. Persons involved in the federal government procurement process must be subject to "revolving door" legislation.
Procurement today is constrained by an adversarial relationship between the Congress and the Defense Department. The result is micro-management by Congress, which has resulted in thousands of regulations that add expensive and time consuming red tape without adding value. Republicans support a firm policy of cooperation, treating Members of Congress as full partners in the acquisition process. This will result in more efficiency and better weapons. An example of what can be accomplished with this partnership is the new base closing legislation.
To make real these reforms, we will once again depend on the professionalism, the diligence, and the patriotism of the men and women who comprise the vast majority of our defense establishment.
Armed Forces Personnel for the Nineties
A free society defends itself freely. That is why Republicans created an all-volunteer force of men and women in the 1970s, and why it has proven to be a tremendous success in the 1980s.
From Grenada to the Persian Gulf, the readiness of those in uniform has made America proud again. Despite a demographic decline in the number of those eligible for service, military recruitment and retention rates are at all time highs. Quality is outstanding, and all sectors of society are participating.
We will continue to make the military family a special priority, recognizing strong home life as an essential component in the morale and performance of the armed forces.
Republicans deplore and reject the efforts of those who would support either a numerical cap or a reduction in the number of military dependents able to accompany U.S. servicemen and women overseas. We recognize that a stable and happy family life is the most important prerequisite for retaining these dedicated men and women in the service of our country.
Republicans recognize that a secure national defense depends upon healthy military personnel. We commend the United States Armed Forces for their leadership in proving the utility of testing active duty personnel and applicants for disease and substance abuse.
Republicans will never take the military for granted. We support an all-volunteer force and we will continue to insist on fairness in pay and benefits for military personnel and their families, always striving to keep compensation in line with the civilian economy.
The National Guard and Reserve are essential to the integrated force concept of our armed services. Prior to 1981, the Guard and Reserve were deprived of both modern equipment and integration into the active forces. This policy has been changed to enable the Guard and Reserve to make their full contribution to our security. We recognize the major role played by the men and women of the Guard and Reserves in the total defense policy. These improvements will be sustained.
Veterans have paid the price for the freedoms we enjoy. They have earned the benefits they receive, and we will be vigilant in protecting these programs of health care, education and housing.
We believe men and women veterans have earned the right to be heard at the highest levels of government. With the personal support of President Reagan, America's veterans will now have a seat in the president's Cabinet.
The health needs of our aging veterans are of special importance, and Republicans will not retreat from this national commitment. We encourage the new Secretary of the Veterans Department to work with the Federal Council on the Aging, and other agencies and organizations, to assure that the development of new facilities and treatment programs meet the special needs of our elderly veterans.
Republicans support the policy that, in all areas where there are no VA hospitals or long-term care facilities, veterans needing medical attention for service-connected disabilities should have the option of receiving medical care within their communities with adequate funding.
We must continue to address the unique readjustment problems of Vietnam veterans by continuing the store-front counseling, vocational training and job placement programs. We support veterans preference in federal employment and are vigilant about the serious problems associated with delayed stress reaction in combat veterans, particularly disabled and Vietnam veterans. An intense scientific effort must continue with respect to disabilities that may be related to exposure to ionizing radiation or herbicides.
The Republican Party supports sufficient funding to maintain the integrity of the VA hospital and medical care system and the entitlement and beneficiary system. We also support the efforts of the Department of Labor to properly meet the needs of unemployed veterans, particularly disabled and Vietnam veterans.
Our commitment to America's veterans extends to the men and women of all generations.
Intelligence: An Indispensable Resource at a Critical Time
A crucial part of the Reagan-Bush Administration's rebuilding of a strong America has been the restoration of the nation's intelligence capabilities after years of neglect and down-grading by the Carter-Mondale administration. This renewed emphasis has been essential in conducting diplomacy, supporting our armed forces, confronting terrorism, stopping narcotics traffic, battling Soviet subversion, and influencing events in support of other national policies. Our vital intelligence capability will continue to prevent tragedies and save lives.
In the years ahead, the United States will face a widening range of national security challenges and opportunities. Scores of foreign intelligence services will seek to uncover our secrets and steal our technology. But there will also be opportunities to advance U.S. interests, for freedom and democracy are on the march. Both the threats and the opportunities will place demands on our intelligence capabilities as never before.
The Republican Party endorses covert action as one method of implementing U.S. national security policy. We reject legislative measures that impinge on the President's constitutional prerogatives. Our country must be able to collect from both technical and human sources the vital information which is denied to us by closed societies in troubled regions of the world. Our senior national security officials must be informed about trends in foreign societies, opportunities to advance U.S. interests, and the vulnerabilities of those who seek to harm our interests. This information can then be used, through the proper chain of command, to support our national policies.
To strengthen the decision-making process and further limit access to classified information, we support the concept of a single joint committee for intelligence, made up of appropriate congressional leaders and analogous to the former Joint Atomic Energy Committee.
We will continue to enhance the nation's capability for counter-intelligence. Congressional intrusion into the administration of counter-intelligence must be kept to a minimum.
Leaks of highly sensitive and classified national security information and materials have increased at an alarming rate in recent years. Such leaks often compromise matters critical to our defense and national security; they can result in the tragic loss of life. We advocate a law making it a felony for any present or former officer or employee of the federal government, including Members of Congress, to knowingly disclose classified information or material to a person not authorized to have access to it.
The U.S. must continue to provide political, military, and economic assistance to friends abroad and to those seeking to help us against our adversaries. These activities must always be in support of our national policy, and the U.S. has the right to expect reciprocity wherever possible.
To the extent the Congress requires the President to inform its Members of activities sensitive to national security, the President is entitled to require that Congress will respect that sensitivity.
National Security Strategy for the Future
We have set forth the foreign and defense policies of the Republican Party in the two preceding sections of this Platform. To implement those policies, we propose this integrated national security strategy for the future.
The long-term security of our nation is the most important responsibility of the U.S. government. The domestic well-being of the American people cannot be ensured unless our country is secure from external attack. To guard our borders, preserve our freedom, protect America from ballistic missile attack, foster a climate of international stability and tranquility --so that nations and individuals may develop, interact, and prosper free from the threat of war or intimidation --these are the most important goals of America's foreign and defense policy.
We dare not abandon to others our leadership in pursuit of these goals. International peace and stability require our country' s engagement at many levels. While we cannot resolve all issues unilaterally, neither can we abdicate our responsibilities by retrenchment or by relying on the United Nations to secure our interests abroad. Those who advocate America's disengagement from the world forget the dangers that would be unleashed by America's retreat --dangers which inevitably increase the costs and risks of the necessary reassertion of U.S. power.
Republicans learned this lesson well as we implemented the most successful national security policy since World War II. In 1981, we had to deal with the consequences of the Democrat's retreat. We inherited an America in decline, with a crisis of confidence at home and a loss of respect abroad. Reestablishing America's strength, its belief in itself, and its leadership role was the first and most important task facing the Reagan-Bush Administration. We met that task. We repaired our defenses, modernized our strategic nuclear forces, improved our strategy for deterrence with our development of the Strategic Defense Initiative, deployed INF missiles in Europe, and restored pride in our nation's military service.
We also met that task by a policy of engagement. We worked with allies, not against them. We supported friends instead of accommodating foes. We fostered the achievement of genuine self-determination and democracy rather than merely preaching about human rights in the Third World.
The Reagan-Bush approach produced dramatic results. Our policy is proven: to foster peace while resolutely providing for the security of our country and its allies. We have significantly enhanced that security. We have expanded the opportunities for the United States to be a positive force for freedom and democracy throughout the world, and the chances for new breakthroughs for peace have risen dramatically.
We secured the first arms reduction agreement, eliminating an entire class of Soviet and U.S. nuclear weapons. We laid the basis in START for unprecedented, radical reductions in strategic nuclear arms.
In regional conflicts, a humiliating Soviet retreat from Afghanistan, made possible by our unyielding support for the Mujahidin, helped to sober the Soviet rulers about the costs of their adventurism. Our protection of vital U.S. interests in the Persian Gulf against Iranian aggression led to the agreement to start resolving the Persian Gulf War. Our support for freedom fighters in Angola has resulted in the chance of a settlement there and elsewhere in southern Africa. Our isolation of Vietnam has led to the prospect of its withdrawal from Cambodia.
In human rights and the building of democracy, Republican leadership has turned the tide against terror in Central America, aided the restoration of democracy in the Philippines and South Korea, and liberated the island of Grenada from a Cuban-controlled dictatorship.
This is a remarkable record of achievement. It shows that our policies of achieving peace through strength have worked. By rebuilding American strength and restoring American self-confidence, Republicans achieved a remarkable series of foreign policy objectives critical to our country's security. The resurgence of American leadership has changed the world and is shaping the future, creating new opportunities not dreamt of eight years ago. This is true measure of competence.
Although we have established a framework for the future, we cannot afford to rest on our laurels. The young democracies we have helped to flourish may yet be overcome by authoritarian pressures. The Soviet Union can easily revert to past practices. Its current effort of internal restructuring could create a more powerful adversary with unchanged objectives. Arms reductions could again become an excuse for reducing our commitment to defense, thus creating dangerous instabilities. Economic competition could easily slip into protectionism and mercantilism. Both to meet those challenges and to build upon the opportunities created by our success, the U.S. must continue in the strong leadership role it has assumed over the past eight years.
As we face the opportunities and challenges of the future, our policies must be guided by realism, strength, dialogue, and engagement. We must be realistic about the Soviet Union and the world we face. Hostile forces remain in that world. Soviet military capabilities are still dangerous to us. It must be clear to all, except the leadership of the Democrat Party, that we are not beyond the era of threats to the security of the United States.
Our country must have all the military strength that is necessary to deter war and protect our vital interests abroad. Republicans will continue to improve our defense capabilities. We will carefully set priorities within a framework of fiscal conservatism, and improved management of defense resources.
We will continue modernizing our strategic forces, emphasizing a mix of offensive and defensive forces, effective and survivable, employing unique U.S. technological advantages. We will redouble our commitment through force improvement to correct the dangerous imbalance that exists in conventional forces.
At the same time, we will pursue negotiations designed to eliminate destabilizing asymmetries in strategic and conventional forces. Arms reductions can contribute to our national security only if they are designed to reduce the risk of war and result in greater stability. They must be part of a process of broader dialogue with the Soviet Union, as well as other nations, a process in which we explore possible opportunities to reduce tensions and create more stable, predictable, and enduring relationships.
As we shape our foreign and defense policies, we must never lose sight of the unique leadership role the United States plays in the world community. No other nation can assume that role. Whether we are dealing with security challenges in the Persian Gulf or terrorism or the scourge of drugs, the willingness of other nations to act resolutely will depend on the readiness of America to lead, to remain vigorously engaged, and to shoulder its unique responsibilities in the world.
The American people and the Republican Party, in the tradition of Ronald Reagan and with the leadership of George Bush, are indeed ready to do so.