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NEWS FROM THE LIBERTARIAN PARTY
2600 Virginia Avenue, NW, Suite 100
Washington DC 20037
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For release: August 14, 1998
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For additional information:
George Getz, Press Secretary
Phone: (202) 333-0008 Ext. 222
E-Mail: 76214.3676@Compuserve.com
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Congress, your hypocrisy is showing:
Plan to drug-test politicians is killed

        WASHINGTON, DC -- If federally mandated drug testing is such a good idea for high school students, public-housing residents, and bus drivers, why isn't it good enough for Congressmen?

        That's what Libertarians are asking after the Republican House leadership quietly torpedoed an effort to mandate drug testing for every member of Congress.

        "These Congressmen must be getting high on hypocrisy," said Libertarian Party National Director Ron Crickenberger. "Why else would they wage a War on Drugs on the rest of us, but declare a drug-testing truce in the halls of Congress?"

        Last week, Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX) said the House was too "busy, busy, busy" to consider a proposal that would have required all 435 House members and their staffs to take random tests for illegal drug use.

        Armey and other Republican leaders discreetly declined to set a date for a vote on the motion, effectively killing it for the year.

        The decision to quash the drug-testing plan has Libertarians unsure whether to applaud Congressmen for their wisdom or jeer them for their hypocrisy, admitted Crickenberger. For example...

        * One of the reasons Congress was too "busy, busy, busy" to debate the drug-testing proposal was because it was "busy, busy, busy" passing new legislation to ratchet up the Drug War.

        "So far this term, Congress passed a $17 billion drug war budget; approved stationing U.S. troops on our borders to fight drug smuggling; killed a bill that would have curbed asset forfeiture abuses; and voted to spend $2 billion for a five-year anti-drug advertising campaign," said
Crickenberger.

"In addition, Republican leaders vowed to launch a World War II-style blitzkrieg to wipe out drug abuse. Does this seem just a little hypocritical?"

        * Even more ironic: News reports indicated that many lawmakers had quietly opposed the measure because drug testing was "unnecessary and insulting" and "undignified."

        "To those Congressmen, we say: Welcome to the Drug War," said Crickenberger. "Too bad 270 million other Americans will continue to endure those same unnecessary, insulting, and undignified violations of their Constitutional rights. Why is there one set of standards for politicians
who make the laws, and another for ordinary Americans who suffer under them?"

        * Despite the draconian punishments that Congress has mandated for drug offenses, the proposed drug-testing measure would have merely required that any House member who tested positive be reported to the Ethics Committee.

        "If Congressmen want to play Drug Warriors, shouldn't all the rules of the game apply to them?" asked Crickenberger. "If they tested positive for illegal drugs, shouldn't they be immediately arrested? Be subjected to mandatory-minimum jail terms? Face a death sentence if they are declared Drug Kingpins? Have their assets seized? If these harsh punishments are really
needed to fight drugs, isn't it only fair that they apply to Congressmen, too?"

        * Finally, proponents of the drug-testing plan had argued that the House needs to "set a good example" for the nation, since so many Americans -- including air-traffic controllers, high school athletes, public-housing residents, and bus drivers -- are subject to government-required drug
testing.

        "Actually, the House set a good example by rejecting this plan," countered Crickenberger. "Now maybe it will set an even better example by protecting every other American from the horrors of the War on Drugs.

After all, Congressmen finally summoned the courage to stand up for their own
Constitutional rights. When will they start standing up for ours?"

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