President Reagan warned Congress on Saturday that "time is fast running out," and pressed the Senate to approve a House-passed anti-drug bill before adjournment.
Reagan, as he has in several other speeches during the past week, said he supports the death penalty provision in the measure.But in the Democratic response, Sen. Daniel Moynihan, D-N.Y., praised the Senate's version as the better legislation and argued the House bill "has just too many extras."
"The House bill has many good and tough provisions that express our national commitment to five simple but powerful words - those words are `zero tolerance' and `Just say no,"' Reagan said, lifting the slogan from his wife Nancy's anti-drug education campaign.
"By zero tolerance, we mean simply that we've had it," Reagan said in his weekly radio address from Camp David, Md.
"We will no longer tolerate those who sell drugs and those who buy drugs. All Americans of good will are determined to stamp out those parasites who survive and even prosper by feeding off the energy and vitality and humanity of others. They must pay," the president said.
Reagan said he supports moves to deny federal benefits to anyone convicted of drug sales or use, user penalties and allowing the admission in federal court of evidence seized illegally, but in "good faith."
While the House passed its version of the legislation earlier this month on a 375-30 vote, the measure has not yet come before the Senate.
"We must, we need and we will have this law," the president said. "I challenge the U.S. Senate to get that bill passed."
Reagan pointed out that the House bill includes the death penalty for those who authorize drug-related killings or anyone who kills a law enforcement officer in a drug-related crime.
Moynihan noted the Senate legislation also has the death penalty provision but spends 60 percent of its $2.6 billion package to reduce demand and only 40 percent for cutting supply. "It marks a major departure in federal policy," he noted.
The bill introduced in the Senate last Monday has wide bipartisan backing, Moynihan noted, included the support of the GOP vice president candidate, Sen. Dan Quayle of Indiana.
Senators have been negotiating privately over crucial time-limiting agreements that would enable Congress to pass the anti-drug measure before adjournment, expected to come at the end of this week. But they agree the Senate will run out of time if long debates ensue over user penalties or the admission of illegally seized evidence.