As the first Republican-dominated session of Congress in 40 years nears an end, conservative profamily activists are still seeking major legislative victories that will turn their agenda into lasting changes in public policy.
Conservative Christian and profamily voters were considered a key part of the Republican coalition that took control of both the House and the Senate after the 1994 elections. The movement has parlayed that political clout into significant influence this congressional session, introducing numerous bills, testifying at hearings, blocking controversial administration appointments, and helping to shape the overall Republican agenda. Yet, while conservative profamily groups have seen several first-round victories on bills they supported, to date, major laws codifying their agenda remain elusive.
Although there has been congressional action on several items in the Christian Coalition's 10-point Contract with the American Family (CT, July 17, 1995, p. 54)--which was generally supported by several evangelical and profamily groups--there also have been setbacks.
SHORT-LIVED TRIUMPHS: On the issue of pornography, Congress in February adopted the Communications Decency Act as part of the telecommunications bill. The act prohibited sending "indecent material" to children via the Internet. However, in June a federal court struck down the measure as unconstitutional.
Major action on another priority item, restricting abortion, also has been stymied. President Clinton vetoed legislation passed by the House and the Senate that would have outlawed the controversial late-term abortion procedure known as "partial-birth abortion." Opponents of abortion are still hopeful they will be able to muster enough votes to override ...1
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