This year's congressional session will be an important one for business because the left-wing segment of the Democratic Party, led by Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., will be presenting many social programs.
So said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, when he addressed the annual meeting of the Utah Chapter of the Associated General Contractors Friday in Little America in a talk that centered on the gulf war.Hatch said the Democrats will be bringing back the 1990 Civil Rights Act. He said 20 senators want him to do everything possible to defeat the bill. Hatch said the senators told him their constituencies won't let them vote against the bill because they would face a primary election in which they most certainly would be defeated.
The Utah Republican said Kennedy thought the 1990 Civil Rights Act would embarrass President Bush and the Republicans, but he predicted once the people back home understand what the bill would do, they would "raise Cain" about it.
Hatch said the average Democrat is a decent human being, but the top leaders of the Democratic Party are very far to the left and that is why Kennedy has so much control.
He said the free enterprise system cannot survive if business is required to hire certain people or provide mandatory health insurance for workers. He said the Democrats also want to add increased Occupational Safety and Health Administration penalties and fines and another bill that would require employers to give parental and medical leave.
That type of action should be voluntary, Hatch said, because when government begins to mandate programs it narrows the scope of benefits. Another potential law would prevent companies from replacing striking workers.
Hatch said he favors drug testing in the workplace, but it should be done on an equitable basis between management and the employees.
Turning to the Persian Gulf war, Hatch said he hasn't been as mad in years as he was last Saturday when Congress barely passed a resolution allowing President Bush to use force against Iraq if necessary. Had a unanimous vote been achieved, maybe the fighting could have been avoided, he said.
What made him upset the most was the resolution considered shortly after the allied forces had accomplished most of their goals in the first phase of trying to get Saddam Hussein to withdraw from Kuwait. The 98-0 vote should have come on the Saturday resolution and not after many senators "found out the folks back home supported the president."
Hatch said many of the anti-war protesters, those carrying the signs which read "No Blood For Oil," don't understand what the president's actions are trying to accomplish.
Saying that oil is way down on his list of priorities, Hatch said one of the main reasons that Saddam must be defeated is terrorism. Saddam has the most feared terrorists in the world sitting by his side in Iraq and their "tentacles reach out to all parts of the world."
Hatch said Saddam committed his first murder at age 13 and he has no feeling for human life, evidenced by the fact that he has chemical and biological weapons and soon could have a nuclear weapon. His attack on Israel, with missiles that fell in populated areas, are evidence he doesn't care about those he kills.
Because Saddam is committed to destroying Israel, a country with which the United States has defense treaties, Hatch said the dictator must be stopped to preserve stability in the Middle East.