Workers Correspondence

The 2002 elections offer another opportunity to press for an agenda that meets the health, housing, education and safety needs of the people. Congress still has time to enact a prescription drug bill that will take care of all retirees age 55 years and older, including Medicare recipients.

Congress can still pass HR-99, the Universal Health Care Act proposal by Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) and set the stage for making national health legislation an issue in the 2004 presidential election. In addition, Congress can force the Bush administration to fully fund the Child Health Plus bill so that all children can have their health needs met. Fighting on these issues can go far in exposing the anti-people policies of the Bush/Cheney administration.

Bush vetoed a $90 million Senate- and House-approved financing for the medical and mental health screening of World Trade Center clean-up workers. He also vetoed a special appropriation, also approved by the House and Senate, of $100 million to buy a communication network for New York City firefighters so that the errors that took place at the time of these attacks would not be repeated. Issues such as these offer a Pay-back opportunity for these vetos.

The key to success in electing a pro-people Congress is for labor, community and other pro-people forces to work together. The broadest coalitions are now possible. And, given the massive anti-war demonstrations and letter-writing/e-mailing opposing Bush’s drive to war, this coalition can be a socio-economic/anti-war coalition.

The author can be reached at pww@pww.org

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