"If our forces could win the ground war in 100 hours, then surely the Congress can pass [transportation and crime] legislation in 100 days," President Bush said to the joint session of Congress last month. On crime, at least, why take so long?
The president's version of the crime bill he unveiled last month is very much like elements of a crime bill that had broad support among Democrats in Congress last year. Both House and Senate passed ambitious, wide-ranging bills. A conference committee deadlocked on the controversial parts of the package just before adjournment (and the elections). The elements the president re-submitted were dropped then, and the non-controversial remains were enacted into law.
Had the conference not been an eleventh-hour one, some
advocates of the original package said then, there would have been agreement and enactment of the rest. We believe that package would have been signed by the president, though he, like many liberal Democrats who were willing to vote for it, disapproved of some aspects of the bill.