Michael B. Enzi (MBE) -- I appreciate your being on here today. I'll do as I usually do and start off with a brief statement and then open it up for any questions that you want to ask. Of course, this will be a prime week here for finishing up the appropriations. One of the topics of the appropriations will be the emergency supplemental appropriation. I want to explain why that becomes such a critical issue at this time of year. The emergency aspect of that takes that portion of the budget out from under the balanced budget requirements. We've all been contending that we needed a balanced budget; that we want a balanced budget; that we are going to have a balanced budget. But here is a little aspect of the budget that gets to hang out outside of that. Quite frankly I'm a little appalled at some of the items that are getting into that as emergencies. One of those is the Y2K problem, worrying about the computers particularly those with the federal government that won't function after the year 2000. We didn't just get the calendar. We've known for almost 1000 years that there was going to be a year 2000. I really don't see us accepting that as an emergency provision. Bosnia is another one where the funding is in the emergency supplemental. Yes, it is an emergency. Yes, we have to back our troops, but we have been doing that so long now and with no end in sight that that ought to be a part of the regular budget. That ought to come under the normal budget caps. I'm going to mention one more area and that's the true emergencies. This country is having true emergencies. We have hurricanes hitting, we have droughts, we have flooding. There is a wide variety of real crisis for the people who are experiencing them. In fact, the emergencies are predictable on an annual basis. We know that there are going to be about $6 billion worth of emergencies each and every year because that's how many happen every year, looking at the last 10 years. By all good accounting principles that ought to be a part of the regular budget. It ought to come within the caps. Then when we are reporting a surplus we would have a true surplus. Although we still have to handle that "little" accounting inconsistency called Social Security, before we can really report a true one. Don't get confused by all of the rhetoric where we talk about spending Social Security. Those who want to spend for emergency supplemental items, that should have been included as regular budget items are spending Social Security money the same way that it would be spent any other way. Hold our feet to the fire. Let's have a good year of doing true accounting and true budgeting and true appropriations. That's what we are working for. With that I'll open it up for any questions.
Michael Milstein(MM) -- Do you think that Congress has the gumption to stand firm against these sort of emergency appropriations?
MBE -- At this point in the process, no. What we are looking at now is how big those appropriations will be. For instance, on the farm bill, we know that some relief has to be given to those who are actually producing the food that we eat in this country. They are at a low on the revenues that they are getting. People higher up the food chain are getting the bulk of the money from it, but the ones who are actually producing it are really hurting. We are trying to decide how much is appropriate. How much will provide the relief. The President asked for a billion. The Republicans have said that about $4 billion would be better. Now the Democrats have bid again and said about $7 billion would be better. There is a huge disparity in how much that ought to be and what it will do and whether it will eliminate all of the work that's been done to fix the farm problem over the past several years. We need to solve those problems. This is an election year. We hope that the bidding doesn't wipe out any potential surpluses we have this year or next year.
MM -- You also seem to be at odds over the Interior Appropriations. Why has that gotten so polarized? The White House, the Administration, seems to be threatening now another government shutdown.
MBE -- It was very beneficial to the White House about three years ago to do some shut downs. As a result, they are looking for excuses where they might get that same kind of favorable publicity that they did by shutting down government the last time. I don't think anybody ought to get favorable publicity out of that and there has been a huge attempt to reconcile any differences in the work we are doing. That's partly what's held up the Interior Appropriations bill. I think there are still about 60 outstanding amendments to the Interior Appropriations bill. Most of those I think have been thrown out at this point so there could be some agreement. The biggest problem we are having at this point in time, is getting the President to stay in town long enough that we can get his opinion on what would be acceptable in the bills that are outstanding. We only have this week to work it and he's got more trips planned.
Rich Bircumshaw (RB) -- You are talking about all these appropriations and you never know what's going to get tacked on to those things. Is this a power situation where the people in Washington who have power, who have the experience, are going to get those things tacked on?
MBE -- Things have been tacked on by both Republicans and Democrats each and every year. It isn't any different this year when things get tacked on. As a freshman I'm kind of interested in how all this works because I need to know these kinds of strategies to protect my own constituents and make sure they are not being damaged by what somebody else is doing. Those are put on by usually unanimous consent. That means that everybody who knows about it on both sides of the aisle agree with it. Quite frankly some of the times it means that the ranking person on each side agrees that the other ranking person's proposal will be okay. It's both Republicans and Democrats agreeing to put things onto the bill. It means that there is agreement for any of those to get on there. The ones that there is disagreement on you see us vote on.
RB -- In the case of Bosnia have we really defined what our mission is supposed to be there?
MBE -- Unfortunately we have not defined our mission there. We haven't said at what point we would do anything good or bad to them or for them. Something that is worrying me at the moment is Kosovo is coming up and we are at the same exact situation on that. We have another country that is in the midst of a civil war and we are talking about coming in and interjecting ourselves into their process. In fact, we are even talking about I noticed as I was reading the paper on the way out to Wyoming over the weekend, I'm out there almost every weekend, that the Senate had said the Administration's approach to Kosovo was okay and that bombing might be necessary. I don't remember any direct poll on that sort of thing. I talked to some of my colleagues and I don't see that. I would be very disturbed if we go into that kind of a situation again without a plan, without talking to our allies, without having the goals clearly defined and without committing the resources to it that are necessary to do the job that we outlined in our goals. I find that lacking in every bit of our foreign policy. I'm really disgusted at it after watching for two years, for over three years saying, We've got to have a plan. We've got to shop it to our allies. We've got to know how much it costs. We've got to know what the goals are. We've got to know what we are going to achieve and how we will know when we are done. That hasn't happened.
RB -- Is that something that falls solely to the Administration or can Congress play a role in that too?
MBE -- Congress is more than willing to play a role in it but the foreign policy is generated more through the direction of the Commander in Chief, the President of the United States. That's one of those areas where he really is supposed to be generating policy. On most of the ones where he is traveling around the country suggesting that we ought to legislate, that's really a legislative function not an executive function. But foreign policy, really needs to begin with the Commander in Chief and get the approval of Congress. Quite frankly, we'd like to be more involved in some of those discussions.
RB -- You mentioned earlier that the President just doesn't stay around much but are we at a catch 22 where all the heat he is taking on his personal affair, that maybe a lot of us wouldn't want to be around for that either.
MBE -- I can tell you he has set new records for being out of Washington, whether he is overseas, or whether he is around the country doing fund raising. He's got a record on that. He is cleverly combining some of his fund raising with some of the other trips where he is making policy statements. He's not here in Washington and not here where we could have some of the key leaders talk to him at least on the telephone. But he is running around the country doing his speeches. That's a little disturbing particularly at this point in the session.
MM -- His personal problems are obviously distracting to him, do you think they are distracting to Congress as well?
MBE -- Actually I'm really pleased at the amount of focus there is here, the focus on getting the appropriations done. That's the main part of the work we have left to achieve this session. People on both sides of the aisle are pre-conferencing, and conferencing and are really focusing on getting the work done on the appropriations. There really are only two committees in the House, the Judiciary and the Rules, that are focused at all on the President's problems. Now the President is making a grand attempt to make sure that the nation is focused on it. I would like to know how many spin doctors are involved in putting out the information that it's just sex not lies. I saw one special on television where they showed how many computers the investigation would have bought for a small town in Indiana. Quite frankly, Congress didn't know that was a choice. Congress was not involved in deciding whether to spend the $40 million. That was the executive branch having the judicial branch do an independent counsel review. It's judges who have the control over the spending that Judge Starr does and the direction that Judge Starr took in his investigations. Congress is not allowed by Constitution to be a part of that independent investigation. After the independent investigation is reported, it comes to us. That's the part we are in right now. That's the part where the House gets to be involved in it and if they refer it over to us (the Senate) we'll be involved in it. I think you've seen a lot of constraint and focus by Congress not to jump across those lines.
MM -- Why do you think that the impeachment question it certainly seems at least to me on the outside that that's become definitely a partisan issue. Why do you think that is?
MBE -- One of the things I'm kind of surprised at is some of the reporting in Wyoming that is actually taking a more liberal trend than the media in Washington is taking. The media in Washington today was congratulating the House for its bipartisan effort and for its recognition that the work on this kind of investigation, time schedules, extent of the investigation, all of those things, by the House Committee were already determined in the Nixon incident. It looks like they are going to adopt exactly the same constraints, time lines, guides, everything that were in effect for that particular incident to go in with this one. Out here there is a lot of call to follow the process and (follow) what precedents there are from previous actions. That appears to be what the House is doing. They are not trying to preclude or judge at this point but to get the work done according to precedent.
RB -- Is there a fine line, Senator, because our polling tells us that people are tired of this. They don't want to hear any more about it. Is there a fine line we are walking here between what we are actually trying to get and how deep we are trying to dig?
MBE -- A little over a week ago there was a Viennese ball here. I attended that and I got interviewed by Viennese television. They asked me some rather general questions about what I was hearing people say. I was talking about what I was hearing people at the ball say about America and about Austria. About the fourth time he asked the question he said, I can see I'm going to have to be a little more direct on this. What do you hear people saying about Clinton and Monica? I said, Nothing at the ball. That really wasn't a topic of conversation here. I told him what I had been hearing other places and when the interview was over he said, I really hated to ask that question. People in Austria are saying they are really tired of hearing about that. But 90 percent of them listen to everything that comes on so my boss is telling me I have to have six interviews a day to cover that. It's the media that's generating the attention. The people are watching even though they are saying they are tired of it. They are feasting on everything that comes out on it so the media is generating it. It definitely isn't Congress that's generating the interest.
RB -- Do you think the media is responsible for maybe promulgating this -- for lack of a better word -- this type of titillation. Are they feeding on that?
MBE -- That's probably the toughest question I've been asked ever.
RB -- I would ask in Austrian but I can't speak that language.
MBE -- The media need to sell their product and the people kind of generate what the media need to cover. If the people buy into what's being covered then the media covers it some more. It's kind of a circular process but there is a tremendous amount of interest out there. It is a major focus of what's happening in our country and the people want to know what's happening to their country so they are interested so the media follow it up. There is such a saturation of it that I think people do get tired of it but just in case something new comes out they don't want to miss it because it will affect their lives.
RB -- Isn't it somewhat of a shame though that people don't take a better interest in other political measures than this? This is more personal than political really.
MBE -- Actually it used to be personal. Then it got political when the President drug out the lie for seven months. That's what the people I'm talking to are really upset about on both sides of the aisle. The people who said he spent the money because he was lying, and the people who said they were used. I've got to tell you there are Democrats who are really upset over the whole investigation and the way that Clinton handled it. It's legal hairsplitting and people are usually used to the truth. It's actually having a good effect on our country probably because even kids down in kindergarten, first and second grade are talking about values now, what's right and what's wrong and they do understand it. That's the report I'm getting from teachers as I talk to them across the state.
MM -- Do you think that this controversy deserves the attention that Congress is giving it now?
MBE -- As I said, Congress really isn't focusing on it much. We have two committees that are constitutionally charged with watching it. They are doing their job. I'm surprised they are doing it much more bipartisan than I ever expected them to. Publicly of course with the elections coming up they are very concerned so they are taking some divergent stands there.
MM -- I don't know if you've been following the debate over this hydroelectric project up in the Big Horn National Forest, it was proposed back in the early 90s and now has come up again. There's a lot of people questioning whether or not we should be spending all this money on an EIS for a project that so many people seem to be opposed to and about which there are many questions. I wonder if you see any problem in that particularly with your financial background.
MBE -- I was surprised that without really any prompting they are going to take on the EIS totally at government expense at the moment. I am familiar with that area. I've hunted elk up there for years. I've traipsed up and down the dry fork a lot and it is gorgeous country.
MM -- Do you have any feelings about how they should approach this?
MBE -- I'll be interjecting some comments at the appropriate place in the process. I can assure you of that.
MM -- Do you have concerns though that NEPA requires us to spend a lot of money analyzing things that sometimes seem to be clearly and overwhelmingly opposed?
MBE -- NEPA really isn't a voting process though. It doesn't matter how many people are opposed to something it really gets into whether it's environmentally sound or not. If we are going to protect the process which will in the long run protect the environment regardless of how many people are opposed, we probably have to have them review each and every argument to see how valid it is and what the consequences are and what the potential mitigation is to wind up with an evaluation of whether it should be done or not. If we are going to insist on things being scientifically accurate, as opposed to just popular or unpopular, I think we've got to go with the NEPA process. There would be some real dangers if we determined our environment based on popularity alone. I think you would see some things happen in Wyoming that we don't want to have happen and we'd have some things that don't happen that maybe ought to happen. I guess I'm in favor of the process and I'm very leery of anybody doing a project up in that area because there is some extreme beauty and I know what the elk migration routes are through there. That's why I'm up there once in a while.
RB -- Senator, I wanted to ask you a question about air travel. There is the forum coming up in Casper on Wednesday. Is Wyoming simply going to be priced out of the airline industry? It seems they are taking I know in Casper they have pulled all the jets out of here now and they used to fly two jets a day and now they are back to props saying they wanted the more lucrative market and I understand that. Those things seem to always be full when I was on them. Are we being priced out of the whole thing now?
MBE -- No. I think we are actually a victim of plane production. There aren't enough of the kind of planes that could fly into Wyoming being constructed or available, so they are using those on the mileages that can get the most money for them. That isn't the solution for Wyoming but as more planes become available I'm sure that more seats will be available because we are filling those seats in Wyoming. We have a market in Wyoming. We have a need for it there. We did an amendment last week to one of the appropriations bills that would require the major airlines to accept the same kind of connections for independent airlines that they do for the market they are working right now. Like United Express with United. If another airline started up they would have to provide the same kind of ticketing and baggage handling and process that they do for them. We got that amendment passed and if nothing else it get's their attention that maybe they could have competition. There is another caveat that I could add to that, which is that if one of the major airlines allows another airline to take advantage of that, they wouldn't be able to provide competition in the market to wipe that one out. I can see some other airlines starting up in Wyoming if they could get the through connections with the major airlines. I think the market will take care of it. I think there is a market in Wyoming and we definitely need the air transportation and we are working it from a whole bunch of different aspects, partly to preserve some of the regional airports that are around us. Denver isn't one that's in a case of losing its capacity but Rapid City and Billings and Salt Lake City do have some capability of losing it. If we work with those airports to make sure they have routes that come into Wyoming to keep their activity up so that they can remain viable regional airports we'll do well in Wyoming too. There are a bunch of different ways that we are working this. I'm even working it from the accounting aspect of making sure that the airlines aren't using faulty accounting when they are showing what the revenue return is they are getting off the people of Wyoming.
RB -- It sure seems they are busy when I'm on the plane. Maybe I'm just flying when everybody else does. I don't know. It seems to me they should be able to make it and we just seem to be changing dance partners all the time. Someone else comes in with the ______
MBE -- I fly back to Wyoming almost every weekend. I don't know the last time there was a plane that I flew on that had a single seat available. I know the demand is there and I know there are people not getting to fly because the seats aren't available and I know there are people who are still driving to some of the regional airports to assure themselves they will be able to get there. Those are things we will have to work through and we are working on them.
I think that's probably about all the time that we have today. I really do appreciate your questions. It gives me some direction for the week and a lot of help. Thank you very much. Have a good week.