Capitol Hill

Bush's priorities and NRCA issues

From Dec. 15-16, 2004, President Bush hosted a White House economic conference to discuss issues such as tax and regulatory burdens, effects of lawsuit abuse, high costs of health care and the importance of preparing U.S. workers for the jobs of the 21st century. On Feb. 2, 2005, he laid out his priorities in his State of the Union address.

Bush has set an ambitious agenda of proposals that will dominate dialogue on Capitol Hill for months. His plan to modify Social Security to allow some workers to put a percentage of payroll taxes into private investment accounts is expected to generate the most expensive lobbying battle in history. Corporate trade associations, the financial services and securities industries, Fortune 500 companies and conservative groups favor the president's plan. Opposition is led by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) and AFL-CIO.

Although NRCA has taken no position, Social Security certainly faces financial problems because sometime during the next decade an aging U.S. population will be taking more benefits out of the system than it is paying in taxes to fund it. The Social Security debate will be omnipresent even as Congress considers three more Bush priorities that NRCA supports: legal reform to stop lawsuit abuse, asbestos litigation reform and energy legislation.

Lawsuit abuse