Not Rudy for Homeland
6/15/2002 12:00:00 AM - Robert Novak
WASHINGTON -- Former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani will not become the Cabinet-level secretary heading the proposed new Department of Homeland Security, according to sources close to President Bush.
With Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge's political stock falling, Giuliani has wide, bipartisan support in Congress to fill the new post. However, the Bush team does not think Giuliani would be comfortable in a subordinate role reorganizing the war on terrorism. "Rudy's OK to fight war, but not to plan," said one Bush aide.
Because Pennsylvania's former Gov. Ridge has not received high marks in Washington, there is little support in Congress or the administration to give him the new Cabinet post. He is expected to stay as a senior presidential adviser.
House Majority Whip Harry Reid, who had been unhelpful about a bill for anti-terrorism insurance, became an important advocate after strong support was voiced by the gambling industry -- the major political power in Reid's home state of Nevada.
Frank Fahrenkopf, chief Washington lobbyist for the American Gaming Association, on June 5 wrote Senate leaders urging them "to act expeditiously" on the insurance bill. He warned that "casino operators face the prospect of an uncertain future," endangering 365,000 casino employees earning $11.5 billion annually. Reid brought up the long-stalled bill seven days after receiving Fahrenkopf's letter.
A footnote: A party-line Senate Democratic vote kept in the bill a provision for punitive damages demanded by trial lawyers. If this provision is not removed in a Senate-House conference drafting the final bill, President Bush has promised a veto.
Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle caught Republicans off guard by bringing up the bill for permanent repeal of the estate tax on Wednesday, instead of just before the Fourth of July recess as expected. The 54 votes to waive Budget Act requirements fell short of the 60 needed in the 100-member Senate.
Bringing up the bill two weeks earlier than expected forestalled conservative anti-tax organizations from waging a grass-roots campaign. Americans for Tax Reform had planned to target Democrats seeking re-election, particularly Tim Johnson in South Dakota and Jean Carnahan in Missouri.
A footnote: Two Republican senators also voted against the bill: Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, the most liberal Republican in the Senate, and John McCain of Arizona, who opposes most tax cuts.
CHAIRMANSHIP BARGAINING CHIP
Democratic emissaries talking to Rep. Benjamin Gilman, a 15-term Republican congressman from New York City's suburbs, told him they cannot give him the House International Relations chairmanship in return for switching parties.
The latest congressional redistricting for New York state pits Gilman against Republican Rep. Sue Kelly in a new district dominated by Kelly's old constituency. Gilman would be the underdog in a Republican primary.
Since the new district was carried easily by Al Gore and Bill Clinton in presidential elections, Gilman might run better against Kelly as a Democrat. He is reported by Democratic negotiators as asking whether he would be International Relations chairman if he were to switch parties. The answer was no. Gilman headed the committee for six years, before he had to step down because of Republican-imposed term limits.
The three Republican candidates given the best chance to oust Democratic Senate incumbents this year will come to the East Side of Manhattan Monday for closed-door fund-raising.
Rep. John Thune in South Dakota, former Rep. James Talent in Missouri and former St. Paul, Minn., Mayor Norman Coleman are called "The Three Amigos" by the White House. They are sharing contributions to "The Road to 51" -- a political action committee aimed at electing 51 Republicans to regain control of the Senate.
Monday's events start with a 6:30 p.m., $1,000-per-person cocktail party at the home of billionaire money manager John Levin and his wife, Betty, a member of the wealthy Loeb family. The 8 p.m., $10,000-per-seat dinner will be held at the home of financial consultant and merchant banker Mallory Factor and his wife, Elizabeth, an investment banker. Lawrence Lindsey, President Bush's national economic adviser, is the scheduled speaker.