Some Reagan administration officials have admitted to purposefully withholding a series of potentially controversial policy decisions until after the Nov. 8 elections, The New York Times reported Wednesday.
Announcements of the policy decisions were delayed specifically to avoid injuring the political position of Vice President George Bush, the president-elect, the newspaper said, citing an unnamed senior White House official.Sensitive decisions withheld until after Nov. 8 include a decision, announced Wednesday, to create new restrictions for people seeking to appeal government rulings that have denied them Social Security or welfare benefits.
Other potentially controversial new policies not released until after the national election include random drug-testing of 4 million transportation workers and new labor rules allowing employees in some industries to work at home.
Another potentially explosive decision, withheld until Monday, was the government's mailing of warning notices to 80,000 farmers notifying them it may foreclose on outstanding loans.
"The whole process in the White House in the last three weeks began to slow down," said the senior official. "It didn't take a genius to see that if the impact of something was uncertain, it was being deferred until a later time."
The Times quoted the official as saying the announcments were withheld prior to the election because the administration did not wish to do anything that might cut into Bush's share of the vote.
They are being made public now so that Bush can avoid the potential taint associated with announcing them when he takes office in January, he official sad.
The official said the White House is considering releasing a number of other sensitive policy issues before Reagan leaves office early next year.