UPI's Capital Comment for April 9, 2003

WASHINGTON, April 9 (UPI) -- Capital Comment -- Daily news notes, political rumors and important events that shape politics and public policy in Washington and the world from United Press International.

You say you want a resolution...


The drive to win confirmation for Miguel Estrada, whom the president has nominated for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, is increasing in its intensity and spreading out across the nation. According to the conservative group Americans for Tax Reform, a resolution asking that "United States Senators in the United States Congress work to allow a vote on the floor of the United States Senate on the appointment of Miguel Estrada" has been introduced in 20 different state legislative chambers across the country.

The group says that the North and South Dakota legislatures, along with the state Senates in Georgia, Washington and Nevada have passed similarly worded resolutions calling on their U.S. Senators to end the filibuster of Estrada's nomination as a way of increasing pressure on those blocking the full Senate from voting on the nomination -- including Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., and Sens. Tim Johnson of South Dakota, Byron Dorgan and Kent Conrad of North Dakota, Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray of Washington state and Harry Reid of Nevada, all of who have voted four times to keep the filibuster going.


Change of date...

Taxes, like the weather, are a source of complaint about which people feel little empowered to do anything. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., is trying to change that. He will soon introduce legislation to change the deadline for yearly IRS filings from April 15 to the first Monday in November.

The new date was not selected by accident, Election Day falling on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. The point, Bartlett says, is to make people more aware of the cost of government to them at a critical time in the annual life of the nation. "Doesn't it make sense that the price Americans pay for our government (i.e. taxes) should be the No. 1 priority for voters when they cast their ballots for Members of Congress?" Bartlett asks.

Rudy redux...

A new Zogby International poll shows former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani would be the overwhelming choice to be the next governor of the Empire State.

The telephone survey of 709 likely voters finds that 42 percent of Democrats, along with 82 percent of Republicans and 62 percent of self-identified Independents, would support Giuliani in a bid for governor against current Attorney General Elliot Spitzer, the Democrat's most likely candidate in 2006. Matched head-to-head, Giuliani wins 59 percent to 29 percent, a margin of better than 2-to-1.


When matched against former U.S. Housing Secretary and failed 2002 gubernatorial aspirant Andrew Cuomo, son of former governor Mario Cuomo, Giuliani wins by 63 percent to 27 percent, with the former mayor drawing support from 87 percent of Republicans, 68 percent of Independents and 43 percent of Democrats.

Giuliani remains personally popular as well. His favorable rating in New York City is 67 percent, while 33 percent hold an unfavorable view. In upstate New York, his approval rating jumps to 84 percent while his unfavorable plummets to 11 percent, well ahead of any other New York politician including the state's current governor, Republican George Pataki.

Reconstruction work...

A fight may be brewing over the $2.5 billion in supplemental spending President George W. Bush asked be put toward the rebuilding of Iraq. Bush asked that the distribution of the funds be left to the discretion of the White House, the kind of request the Congress is loath to approve no matter who the chief executive is.

The House approved the amount but directed it be given to the State Department to spend rather than the White House. The Senate version gives the money to the White House but precludes the Defense Department, who some say could put it to best use, from receiving any of it.


Either way, say sources on the Hill, it's a recipe for disaster. Under either scenario, say opponents of the proposals, the funds will likely end up in the coffers of the United Nations and other international bodies that will devote them to overhead, salaries and things other than the rebuilding of Iraq, none of which is much good to the Iraqi people as, say, a school or a hospital or a road built by the Army Corps of Engineers might be.

Sacrifices worth remembering...

The Paralyzed Veterans of America is inviting public participation in the more than 200 events scheduled during the week of April 13 as part of PVA Awareness Week 2003. The events are "a celebration of all the good work that has been done on behalf of paralyzed veterans across our great nation," PVA National President Joseph L. Fox, Sr., said. "The contributions of volunteers, staff and donors -- as well as members helping other members -- is what keeps PVA going strong. The commitment to help those who have served and sacrificed for their country is what makes my involvement with PVA fulfilling." A list of activities can be found on the group's Web site at


Delta dropout...

John Arthur Eaves, Jr., a wealthy trial lawyer who had been challenging embattled Gov. Ronnie Musgrove for the Democrat's gubernatorial nomination in Mississippi, has dropped out of the race. Eaves, a former Musgrove political ally, said the race was causing him to spend too much time away from his family.

His departure all but assures Musgrove will win renomination. Former Republican National Chairman Haley Barbour is being challenged by Mitch Tyner, a wealthy trial lawyer with a history of contributions to Democrats, for the GOP's gubernatorial nod.

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