Thursday, November 4, 2004
What to watch for this term
Tuesday's election results increase the likelihood of attempts to restrict abortion.
Bush backs legislation that would make it a crime to transport minors across state lines to obtain abortions to avoid parental consent laws. Bush also supports legislation to restrict family planning services and funding for contraceptives.
Bush and Sen. John Kerry largely avoided talking about abortion on the campaign trail, but it was a key issue in Senate races. Republican candidates who opposed abortion won Senate seats in North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Louisiana.
Bush is also expected to have the opportunity to appoint judges to the Supreme Court who oppose Roe v Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion. Democrats' only recourse is a filibuster to try to prevent a vote on a judicial nominee.
Pamela Brogan, Gannett News Service
ECONOMY AND JOBS
Bush will seek to make tax cuts permanent in his second term and will try to eliminate the alternative minimum tax that hits upper-middle-class and wealthy taxpayers the hardest.
Also look for Bush to float novel new tax approaches, such as a flat tax instead of income taxes that rise with earnings.
Two million Americans have lost their jobs since Bush took office, but jobs and the economy took a backseat on Election Day, political experts said.
In economically troubled states, such as Ohio, ballot initiatives such as a state ban on gay marriage trumped voters' fears about the economy, said Trevor Parry-Giles, an assistant professor of communication at the University of Maryland.
And many middle-class voters took home more of their paychecks, thanks to Bush tax cuts.
Greg Wright, Gannett News Service
Environmentalists predict Bush will attempt to revive his "Clear Skies Initiative" to reduce emissions of mercury, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide. Critics say the plan doesn't slash emissions far enough and makes no attempt to limit carbon dioxide emissions.
Republicans also may try again to win approval for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Senate Democrats and moderate Republicans have blocked Bush's efforts.
The Clean Water Act also could face changes, environmental groups predict. The Bush administration has taken tentative steps to remove some streams and wetlands from protection.
The administration also could move ahead with regulatory changes that don't require congressional consent, such as allowing development on more than 58 million acres of public land now protected and letting dam operators, but not the public, appeal requirements for modern environmental standards.
Erin Kelly, Gannett News Service
Bush and congressional Republicans are expected to push conservative solutions to the nation's health insurance problems that rely on individual responsibility rather than government entitlements.
An estimated 43.3 million non-elderly Americans were without health insurance in 2002, a 13 percent increase since 2000.
During the campaign, Bush proposed cutting health insurance costs and expanding coverage to an estimated 2.4 million uninsured Americans. Among the efforts likely to be pushed: Give eligible, non-elderly individuals an income tax credit for up to 90 percent of health insurance costs, let individuals buying qualified high-deductible health insurance deduct the cost of the premium from their taxes, let small businesses buy health insurance through large purchasing pools. Other ideas include expanding tax deductible Health Savings Accounts and computerizing health records to reduce costs and improve care.
Larry Wheeler, Gannett News Service
IRAQ AND WAR ON TERROR
Iraq will remain a problem for Bush as long as the insurgency there continues and American troops are the principal force opposing it. The challenge is to get through what promises to be violent and volatile elections scheduled for the end of January, and train a large enough Iraqi security force so American troops can start a gradual exit.
The war on terrorism will remain a particularly vexing problem for the foreseeable future, especially with Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program and the threat of Russia's loosely guarded nuclear arsenal falling into the wrong hands.
Al-Qaida has active or sleeper cells in as many as 60 nations and is seeking to strike on American soil, according to intelligence estimates.
Lawmakers have been struggling over how to reform the nation's intelligence network. The outlook remains murky.
John Yaukey, Gannett News Service
Bush likely would look for conservative candidates to replace any vacancy on the Supreme Court, where any of at least three justices could retire during his second term.
A more conservative mindset on the court would affect a range of issues on which the court has been narrowly divided, including abortion rights, privacy issues, same-sex marriage and affirmative action.
"I support the protection of marriage against activist judges," Bush said in his acceptance speech at the GOP convention this summer. "And I will continue to appoint federal judges who know the difference between personal opinion and the strict interpretation of the law."
If Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who has thyroid cancer, is permanently incapacitated, Bush would appoint one of the other justices to replace him. Liberal groups fear he would choose Justice Antonin Scalia, a firebrand conservative.
Ana Radelat, Gannett News Service
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IN THE TRISTATE
Butler coroner beaten, robbed leaving church
Road repairs go nowhere
Voters veto merger of 2 Franklins
Lemmie: Cops did no wrong
Tax plan seen as helping roadways
Bus ride cost could be going up; Metro seeks 13 percent increase
Forget it, Fox's foe says of campaign complaint
Princeton High presents 'Nevermore'
Public safety briefs
Local news briefs
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Boone dog park gets OK
Newport school board member is mourned
Fire in Falmouth zaps phone lines
N. Ky. news briefs