Senator Mike Enzi (ME): We're off and running on another week. One of the things you will hear quite a bit about this week is global warming. That is kind of humorous in light of my weekend when we were snowed under in Wyoming to think about the global warming aspects. It isn't really global warming that's being discussed at this point. What we're discussing is where the jobs in the world ought to be. A treaty is being proposed that will allow developing nations to avoid all of the requirements that deal with cutting down greenhouse gases. They won't have any restrictions. We will have restrictions and fines. We heard this week that one of the proposals will be that fines collected from developed nations will go to underdeveloped nations. They will be able to utilize that to increase their efficiency and capability to compete with us. They have a second proposal then that would pay them if there is any reduction in their output of coal, oil and gas. In light of that I think it's time that Wyoming put in as an underdeveloped nation rather than a state because we are in that kind of resource situation, the same as some of the developing nations. But, in all seriousness, the treaty is flawed. The science is very debatable. There are credible scientists on both sides of the issue but we are not talking science. We are talking about jobs and whether we ought to let developing nations do anything they want regardless of what it does to the atmosphere and to the environment and put very strict restrictions on ourselves. We even leave Europe wide open because they get to average all of their problems which means they will never have an enforcement problem. But we in the United States will. We are saying we've got to end our jobs, end our production in order to protect the environment but we are going to let the whole rest of the world pollute, and, that's not fair. That's something we've got to be very careful of that in all the hype on global warming, we don't put ourselves in a treaty position where we can't compete with the rest of the world and where we are just exporting jobs. With that, I'll get off my soapbox and take your questions.
Ray Hageman (RH) -- Senator trading on Wall Street was stopped today and as we speak the Dow is down over 500 points. I think it's over 520 the last I looked. The White House says the fundamentals of the current U.S. economy are sound. Are they?
ME -- Yes they are. I'm on the Banking Committee and we do a review with Greenspan on a regular basis to see where the economy is going and to see what kinds of protections are being built in there. I think there are tools in place to take care of anything that happens in the stock market. Those will be put in place. Aside from the temporary panics that we go through and we do that on a regular basis, it will come out okay.
RH -- I see the deficit is at a 23 year low. The figures I read this morning have it at $22.6 billion. The President is taking credit for it. He says his 1993 budget package is the reason why and also added this morning that the balanced budget accord reached with Congress has yet to save a red cent. Your comment?
ME -- Well, I guess we could spend a lot of time arguing over who caused it. There are a lot of people who go back as far as Reagan in saying that today's economy is where it is because of things that he did. One of the ones that I tend to favor is that there is a lot of confidence in the United States because they have seen that Congress can overcome what the President is trying to do. We do have efforts towards a balanced budget. The biggest thing that's happened toward balancing that budget is a good economy. We have to worry if the economy goes downhill because it will not balance under those conditions. What we need to be doing at these times is not only balancing the budget but putting a little bit of money away for rainy days, for downturns. I do think that the economy will remain strong. I think there's a lot of potential out there. I think if we continue to work to balance the budget that people will have confidence and that business will move forward.
Jeannie Bright (JB) -- Senator Enzi, what do you think about the Forage Improvement Act which would increase the federal grazing fees from $1.35 per unit to $1.84?
ME -- That's an action that's being taken over on the House side. So far as I know there isn't a companion bill introduced on the Senate side yet. All that's doing is codifying a previous (agreements). We are taking responsibility as Congress to put into law what (was) suggested several years ago. It isn't a very sinister thing and it would give people some reassurance that the grazing as they know it will continue to happen. There are some little changes in it and there are possibilities for amendments as it goes through the process but that's how legislation works.
JB -- Okay. I have a local issue to ask you about. Here in Converse County one of the hottest issues right now is zoning and I know they've done some things like that in Sweetwater County also. One zoning plan here has already been scrapped and they've got another one now that they are looking at. I am sure that some of the citizens here would be interested in your view. Some of them have even questioned the Constitutionality of zoning. Do you have any comments on that?
ME -- Of course one of the reasons that I think I'm back here is because I'm a big advocate of local control. I recognize that we can't solve at the Washington level local problems. In fact, on a lot of issues if we try and solve them at the national level we aren't able to build in the local diversity that happens. Wyoming is one of those very diverse places, the only place that any planning can be done and I'm a planning advocate because I think that all the citizens ought to get involved and say what they want their community to be in the future. Then they need to get together and volunteer and work on getting that community to look that way. You are getting into something a bit more stringent when you are talking about zoning laws and things. The only place those can be handled is on the local level and everybody has to respond and be involved in those sorts of things to make sure, again that their community winds up the way they want it to be.
JB -- Okay. Are there any new developments in the laptop computer debate?
ME -- It's my understanding that this Thursday we'll have a hearing on it before the full committee. I'll get my first opportunity to express to the actual people who have a right to vote preliminarily on the rule to express my opinion on why I ought to be able to take my laptop on there and what I see as the effect that it will have on the Senate. I'm really looking forward to that.
JB -- Okay. Also have you been involved with trying to keep the air service to the five Wyoming towns that Mesa Airlines is threatening to pull out of?
ME -- Yes, I have been and I'll be more directly involved in that as the time goes by. We've been watching out for that for quite some time. When the Amtrak provisions came up before the Senate we were losing Amtrak. I got an amendment to put in by unanimous consent that will allow one percent of Amtrak funds to go to Wyoming for intercity connections. That might be another possibility for funding to keep airlines in the state? We've been watching out for it and we will continue to watch out for it and will get more directly involved.
JB -- Okay, Senator, that's all I had.
JH -- Senator, along those lines, Mesa Airlines say they have to go to this measure in order to secure federal subsidies. Do you see anything wrong with that approach?
ME -- Of course we are always hoping that people will use the federal monies as a last opportunity. We do recognize the need for the transportation in Wyoming. The rest of the nation doesn't understand our need for it. The emphasis they place on it by threatening to pull out helps to put emphasis on it that we can use back here. We certainly hope they are not serious about that and it is just to get the funding.
JH -- I see the Democrats are holding up about $145 billion in federal highway funds in an effort to force a vote on campaign finance issues. Another excuse they are offering is that some of the President's judicial appointments are being held up. Is there an effort underway by Republicans to hold the Democrats accountable for this politically?
ME -- Well I certainly hope there is. We are very distressed that they are holding up the highway funds and they are doing it to get one bill, their version only, through. That's not right. There ought to be a free wheeling discussion. There ought to be other versions of bills. There are a lot of ideas on campaign finance reforms. Not the ones that just force media to give away time and limit the soft money only for the Republicans. That's what that bill does. It isn't a fair bill. It's one that talks about limiting some of our Constitutional rights. We're going to fight that one. They had agreed to put that off until a March discussion. Then they came back and said, "No, I think this is giving good political cover for us, we really don't want anything to happen between now and the time the Senate adjourns so we're going to keep bringing up McCain-Feingold." That's not right. There are a lot of things that need to be done and the highway bill is one of them. Of course particularly from Wyoming's standpoint that highway bill is in really good shape at the present time and that is largely due to Senator Thomas' efforts on it. He turned in his own bill. It became a part of the compromise effort. Whatever is done in that we wind up better than we've ever been before even though we keep going through this debate about Wyoming being a donor state where they are giving us more money than we pay out in taxes. He has done some marvelous work on it and I'd like to get that behind us while we are on the good end of the stick.
JH -- How long do you think they are going to hold this up?
ME --They've been holding up our work off and on now for about two months on the same bill. They are continuing to do it. They actually interrupt the work of the committees to get that done. Earlier you mentioned the holding up of appointments. I don't think you'll find that's been the case. We've been putting those appointments through almost as fast as the President is able to get the paperwork to us. Between the time he appoints people and the time we are able to take committee action, there has to be an investigation, part of which is done by the executive branch. We can't take final action until we've gotten that and I think you'll find we really expedited with one or two exceptions of people. There are always one or two exceptions of people who do not pass the process at all that we've expedited and got those appointments out. They are actually objecting to even committee meetings being held, ones that aren't related to campaign finance or anything else. From the time we go into session, we have two hours for committee meetings. At the end of two hours if the committee meeting is still in place, it requires unanimous consent. The Democrats are withholding unanimous consent until we do this campaign finance reform bill. And, it has to be their version or they will continue to object. They are not the ones in control here and they will not be the ones in control.
JH -- Okay, I've got one more. The President now supports plans to reform the IRS but Treasury Secretary Rubin yesterday was saying something about scrapping the Internal Revenue Code by the year 2000 won't work. He says the Americans need a reliable tax system. It looks again as if the stage is being set for another effort by the White House to say they support reforms but are putting ink in the veto pen at the same time and then coopt the issue.
ME -- You hit the nail right on the head. The President has read the polls. He knows that the people are terribly disturbed with the Internal Revenue Service and that it cannot continue to exist the way that it is right now. He is trying to get on board with that but to prohibit any changes. All he wants to do is take advantage of the polls. He does not want true change in the Internal Revenue Service. We are going to get true change in the Internal Revenue Service because Republicans and Democrats want it and need it and American people are demanding it. I hope as a part of all of this what we can get is to back up just a moment and look at tax policy. Decide exactly what it is that we are trying to achieve with taxes besides raising money to pay for the federal ideas. There are ways that money can be taxed to promote good American values. I think we need to have that discussion and then move on to fixing the tax code. Both can be done in a relatively short time and it will get some resolution between the varying opinions of ways that tax reform ought to be done out there.
JH -- Do you have anything else?
JB -- I don't.
ME -- I really appreciate both of you participating to day. These weekly interviews really help me. I go back to Wyoming almost every weekend and get a chance to pick up some of that common sense and bring it back here. I get a different perspective from some of the other areas of the state by doing this weekly interview. Thank you very much.