Frank’s Internet gaming bill has broad, bipartisan support

The Hill’s April 2 article “Frank’s Internet gambling bill faces tough course to passage” wrongfully suggests that the issue of regulating Internet gaming is somehow partisan in nature, while pitting social conservatives against liberal Democrats. As a former senator, a Republican, and chairman of the Poker Players Alliance — a grassroots organization aimed to promote and protect poker both online and offline — I can tell you with great certainty that it is not.

Liberals and conservatives in and out of Congress are opposed to the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act for a number of reasons: It does nothing to prevent children and problem gamblers from playing online; it overly burdens the banks, making them, not the federal government, policemen of the Internet; it costs the taxpayers billions in unearned revenue, not to mention the loss of capital and jobs when these companies are forced to move out of the U.S.; and it’s simply unenforceable.

In February, the Poker Players Alliance served as a cosponsor of the Conservative Political Action Conference, and the positive response to our issue was overwhelming. The principles that are aligned with Internet freedom, personal responsibility and limited government were abandoned when the UIGEA slipped through Congress in 2006. Both conservatives and liberals alike know that UIGEA was simply a bad bill turned into worse policy, and it must be redone in order to put a more effective system in place.

As House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and many Democratic and Republican members know, now is the time to do what’s right for all interested parties, not based on party politics. That means protecting Internet freedom and the public interest through taxation, licensing and regulation — not prohibition.


Steele’s position in abortion debate

From Richard J. Landon

(Regarding article “Steele abortion quotes spark controversy,” March 12.) Having known Michael Steele for over 13 years and after serving with him on the Prince George’s County, Md., Republican Central Committee for about four years, one thing I know is where Michael stands on the abortion issue. I can definitely tell your readers and all concerned that Michael is and always has been 100 percent pro-life. No question about it!

I campaigned for Michael to become the Maryland Republican Party chairman and I succeeded him as the Prince George’s County Republican chairman. I also campaigned for him and donated money to him when he ran for lieutenant governor of Maryland. One reason many pro-life Republicans like myself supported the ticket of Robert Ehrlich for governor and Steele was the fact that we would have a voice in Annapolis.

Michael has always let everyone know his pro-life stand. This is no secret. It was also quite well known that Michael was a pro-life candidate when he ran for the U.S. Senate seat in Maryland a few years ago.

Michael Steele is a dedicated Knight of Columbus and the past winner of his parish’s Man of the Year Award (St. Mary’s of Landover Hills). Trust me, Michael would not be in the Knights of Columbus (which I am) and the winner of such an award from his parish if he were not pro-life.

District Heights, Md.

Republicans used reconciliation tack

From Cameron Kuss

In a March 31 article on Democrats’ potential implementation of the budget reconciliation process (“Momentum grows among Dems for using rules to avoid filibuster”), which would allow Congress to pass “policy changes in mandatory spending or revenue programs” by a simple majority in both Houses, The Hill reported: “GOP critics of the reconciliation process have said that it was never intended to ram through major legislation.”

I can remember Republicans using the budget reconciliation process to ram through several major Bush initiatives, including the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001, the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003, the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 and the Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005.

Davis, Calif.

Stimulus spending snubs the unemployed

From Ryder Becker

As legislators go on their stimulus blitz, they should explain to their long-term unemployed constituents that they likely will see no benefits from the recently enacted plan. Many states, including Tennessee, cap benefits at 59 weeks, and employ draconian “re-earnings requirements” to file a new state claim, for which they might otherwise be eligible based on base-period earnings.

While California recently extended the maximum qualifying benefit amount to 79 weeks, it is virtually alone in ensuring that its long-term unemployed will be covered.  Many people will see the smoke and mirrors behind the stimulus plan once they exhaust their benefit year. It’s even more likely that the recession will worsen considerably as more and more unemployed people in states like Tennessee have no money at all to “stimulate the economy” or provide for their families.

Lenoir City, Tenn.