Congressional Briefs, Rep. Morris K. Udall
June, 1978
95th Congress: Steady And Cautious
Photo

Congressman Morris K. Udall chats with a member of the 2nd Congressional District Youth Advisory Council during a meeting in the City Council chambers at the Tucson City Hall. The council, composed of 45 members from Southern Arizona high schools, was formed in 1977 to help Udall identify issues important to young people.

The 95th Congress has been one that could be characterized as steady, cautious and independent.

Slowly, members are beginning to apply some steady pressure to the brakes on federal spending, an important element in the war on inflation -- the most important issue that faces America today.

Coupled with that effort is one that is even more important to our economic good health: the creation of a comprehensive national energy policy.

Until the United States solves its $45 billion-a-year drain on the balance of trade, the country faces continued inflation. It has to be stopped, and fast.

The 95th Congress managed to avert the crisis that came in Social Security, but it wasn't enough. The next session will face a number of more thorough overhauls, including a proposal called the Social Security Refinancing Act. The bill, among other things, would substantially reduce the payroll tax for Social Security, put the program back on sound financial footing and restore it to the retirement program it should be.

The Congress has taken on some other important work, and Congressman Udall is supporting the President's Civil Service reform package.

"Overhaul of the federal bureaucracy is long overdue," said Udall, "and I want to do what I can to help. We can't live with the set-up we have. It can and must be improved."

Poll Results

Thousands of residents of the 2nd Congressional District answered the January legislative questionnaire and the invitation to list "what really outrages you as a citizen." The Top 10 issues are on page 3.


Udall Lists Key Legislation,
Proposals, During Past Session

Congressman Udall said he considered involvement in these 10 measures of special importance this year:

* Social Security Refinancing Act. To overhaul the Social Security system, cut the payroll tax and reassign some programs.

* Copper Stockpiling. Pushed with Sen. Dennis DeConcini to allow stockpiling of copper by the government in an effort to bolster the copper industry.

* The Alaska Lands Bill. Doubled the size of the National Park System. Chief sponsor.

* Small Business Tax Relief Act. Restructure the U.S. Tax Code to give small businesses a lower tax rate than larger corporations.

* Civil Service Reform. To

overhaul and reorganize the federal bureaucracy.

* Middle Income Tuition Assistance. Would keep and expand grant programs already in existence to assist children of middle income families in college tuition.

* Whistleblower Bill. Legislation to protect federal employees who "blow the whistle" on federal waste and mismanagement.

* Federal Judges. Voted for legislation creating 145 new federal judgeships to help combat crime and unclog overloaded court calendars.

* Military Unions. Voted against legislation that would have allowed unionization of active duty armed forces personnel.

* Solar Energy. Pushed legislation to encourage development of practical solar energy.


Focus On
District 2

Action by Congressman Udall during the 95th Congress, of special interest to residents of the 2nd Congressional District:

* Worked for continuation of Central Arizona Project, and for alternative studies to solve Arizona's water problems.

* Pushed Disaster Assistance money for Southern Arizonans affected by the floods of 1977.

* Worked for Trade Adjustment Assistance funds for copper miners in Douglas, Ajo, Bisbee, Morenci, Miami, Sahuarita, Silverbell, Bagdad, Superior and San Manuel.

* Asked the International Boundary and Water Commission to intervene to halt San Pedro River pollution from Mexico.

* Worked with the U.S. Air Force to stop sonic booms over Green Valley.

* Gained Air Force permission for Tucson's planned Kolb Road extension across Davis-Monthan AFB.

* Pushed for Grand Canyon Amtrak service to cut down on auto traffic; urged experimental route from midwest to Los Angeles through Tucson and Phoenix; urged Phoenix-Tucson-Nogales run.

* Encouraged and supported copper stockpiling and tariff increase to boost copper industry.

* Promoted the Solar Cooling and Commercial Conference.

* Encouraged Dept. of Energy use of forest products waste to generate energy.

* Asked continuation of the "Over Easy" program on public broadcasting stations, a program of interest to senior citizens.

* Asked Dept. of Health, Education & Welfare to consider new permanent Social Security administration building for Sierra Vista to meet the needs of the growing number of retirees settling in that area.

Photo

Congressman Udall and Congressman Charles A. Vanik of Ohio (center) visit a Samsonite plant in Ambos Nogales earlier this year, a link in the "twin plant" concept that has created hundreds of jobs for communities on both sides of the international boundary.
Special Aim At Economics
On The U.S.-Mexico Border

There were several developments this year of special significance for 2nd Congressional District residents of communities along the U.S.-Mexico international boundary.

House Speaker Thomas P. O'Neill this year appointed the American delegation that participated in the U.S.-Mexico Interparliamentary Group meetings in Washington. The panel is composed of American and Mexican congressmen who meet once a year to discuss areas of mutual concern to both countries.

Congressman Udall was named to the Group's committee on border economics, and discussed tourism, agriculture, commerce, immigration and other areas of mutual concern to communities on either side of the boundary.

Earlier this year, there was a visit to a Samsonite plant in Ambos Nogales, for a look at the "twin plant" concept, in which components for products are shipped across the border to Mexico for


assembly, and then back to the United States for merchandising.

There was a successful push for Small Business Administration economic dislocation loans for businesses severely affected by peso devaluation.

And in late 1977, Disaster Assistance funds were okayed to help flood victims, many of them residents of the Nogales area.

U.S. Moves
To Bolster
Copper Aid

The federal government took three important steps this year in an effort to bolster the American copper industry, a key concern in the 2nd Congressional District.

First, there was approval for a Copper Stockpiling measure which will allow the government to buy copper which may eventually help boost the price.

Second, Trade Adjustment Assistance funds were approved for unemployed miners in Douglas, Ajo, Bisbee, Morenci, Miami, Sahuarita, Silverbell, Bagdad, Superior and San Manuel.

Third, a move to allot funds that would have aided foreign countries in the development of new copper mines, was defeated by the Congress.


Law Will Combat Medicare, Medicaid Fraud
Congressman Udall supported legislation in the 95th Congress designed to combat fraud in Medicare and Medicaid.

The new law, H.R. 3, strengthens five major areas against fraud and abuse in both medical programs: penalties, disclosure, professional standards review, administration and technical

provisions.

"The scope of fraud and abuse in Medicare and Medicaid have become familiar stories to taxpayers everywhere," said Udall. "This sort of legislation has been needed for too long. It will help weed out the violators, and just as importantly, save the government a great deal of money."


Questionnaire Results
The People List The Issues
Thousands of Southern Arizonans answered Congressman Udall's January legislative questionnaire. Here are the top ten concerns of voters in the 2nd Congressional District, and Udall's responses:
1. Cost of Living

Before we do anything to curb inflation, we have to find a way to curb oil imports, because the cost of this foreign oil is running up a $45 billion annual tab. This tremendous drain of American dollars threatens to ruin our economy and it has to be brought under control. The next steps are to cut government spending, where possible, pare away unnecessary government controls that slow our commerce, and as a last resort -- and only as a last resort -- we might consider wage and price controls. Certainly if the choice is between controls and double-digit inflation, it seems the former is far preferable to the latter.
2. Crime

The control of crime is best handled at the local level, by state, county and city police, sheriffs and prosecutors. The federal government has a role in trying to curb certain kinds of crime, mostly those kinds of violations that local governments are not equipped to deal with. The federal government can and is continuing to assist local authorities whenever asked and whenever possible. A direct form of aid is the grant program of the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA), which I support.
3. Bureaucracy

First, we must get regulatory agencies off our backs and force them to focus on things that really matter. If agencies like the Civil Aeronautics Board and the Interstate Commerce Commission have outlived their usefulness, then they should be abolished. Too many regulatory agencies have caused prices to go up, and others have insulated industries that they are supposed to be regulating.

Second, the federal service needs an overhaul, and we have to take a new look at our pension and retirement programs and pare them back to reasonable levels.


4. Health Care

I'd like a closer examination of systems like Health Maintenance Organizations, where doctors are paid a flat fee and where participants pay one sum for their yearly medical bill. It's no panacea, but some of the biggest American industries have found the system not only highly workable, but a real money-saver. National health insurance is a possibility, but only if it can be enacted with some rather strict financial controls that will help keep inflation under control and not contribute to it.
5. Benefit Program

The "quick fix" that Congress used to patch up Social Security has to be more thoroughly overhauled. We just have to get this program back in order and on sound footing and trim this very burdensome payroll tax back to reasonable levels.
THE
UDALL
POLL


6. Environment

We're winning the war on pollution and the battles to clean up our rivers, air and land, and I think the American people are committed to it. These are not inexhaustible resources, and we all want to leave them in the best shape possible for future generations. In fact, the environmental movement has become an economic mini-boom of sorts, and the record and the facts bear this out. The vast array of recycling and treatment plants have created thousands of new jobs. And while we continue the effort to clean the environment and keep it that way, we shouldn't go overboard.

7. Consumerism

Public opinion polls showed earlier this year that an overwhelming majority of citizens wanted a federal Consumer Protection Agency, and one with real teeth to get the job done. A large part of my mail continues to bring consumer problems of every variety to may attention. I'll continue to forward complaints to appropriate agencies, and to stand up for consumers when they're right.
8. Unemployment

It isn't fair to preach the work ethic in the United States and then tell millions of Americans who want to work, that there will be no job for them today. Work is good for the human spirit, for self-dignity, and for many tangible reasons; we all benefit because lower jobless rolls can mean lower taxes, lower welfare budgets, higher revenue, better business and increased productivity. We ought to be able to find work for everyone who wants a job.
9. Public Education

Following years of federal aid to education for a whole range of services -- textbooks, school construction, lunch programs, special education and so forth -- an important new proposal has been made that will, in my judgment, dramatically improve the administration and application of federal programs. That is the creation of a separate Dept. of Education, removed from Health, Education & Welfare, and placing a real education advocate within the Cabinet. Public schools are and should be the province of local authorities, and the federal government's role must always be on a partnership basis with the states and communities.
10. Insurance, Mortgages

Both of these relate directly back to the first issue, listed at the top of this page -- inflation and the cost-of-living. Until we can work our way out of this economic quicksand, and that has to be our first priority, there is little that government at any level can do to affect the cost of insurance premiums or the size or mortgage payments.

 

Tucson Retiree
Orville Larson
Is Senior Intern

Orville Larson, a Tucsonan and a retired United Steel Workers district director and international business representative, served as a Senior Citizen Intern in Washington in May.

Larson was nominated for the internship by the Pima Council on Aging, where he has been an active member since 1973.

This was the first year in which Congressman Udall participated in the two-week internship program.

Interns become acquainted with their congressional office, visit committee hearings and attend briefings which are designed to familiarize them with the operation of the federal government, especially in the area of aging.

POSTSCRIPTS
This newsletter represents a major departure from my standard format of picking a topical issue of the day and trying to discuss with you the pros and cons of that subject.

That's why I'm calling this newsletter "Congressional Briefs" -- rather than looking at a specific issue in depth, it's an attempt to tell you about as many of the activities and legislative proposals of this past Congress, as possible.

If we have seen the fall of the imperial presidency in this decade, we also are seeing the resurgence of Congress as a real and vital force in shaping our government programs and policies.

Elsewhere in this report, there are separate stories about legislation and highlights of the past year. There isn't room to mention all the work that has gone on, and space dictated that we pick issues affecting the broadest number of people.

One particular area has to do with government itself -- its size, its cost and its effectiveness.

I have been involved this past year in several movements, and in some cases, in pieces of legislation, that seek to deal with the problems of government waste and inefficiency.

One is the Forum on Regulation, a movement endorsed by a number of us here in the House, to take a broad measure of public attitudes about the whole range of government regulation, and to begin to hammer out an

approach to doing away with regulations that we don't need, and strengthening those that are worth saving.

Another is legislation sponsored this year to drastically reduce the amount of "junk printing" granted to congressmen. This includes calendars and all manner of booklets and pamphlets. It's a wasteful practice that should be stopped.

I support a continuing effort to whack away at burdensome government paperwork, to cut it back to size and to make government forms more understandable.

This government does respond to change. That single trait may be the most important element of this great American experiment that we call democracy.

Over a doorway in the House wing of the Capitol, an inscription proclaims: "In this House, sir, the people rule."

And they do.

No, it isn't perfect -- but as Winston Churchill once observed, it's still better "than all the others."

We have some tough problems facing us, but we've gone through worse times, and we came out okay. We're going to come out okay this time, too.
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Congressional Briefs
by Morris K. Udall
The University of Arizona Library