Speaker Denny Hastert

June 2, 2004

June 2, 2004

Last night I attended a small dinner of Washington industry reps. Speaker of the House Denny Hastert spoke to us and answered questions. Denny Hastert is a big strong man. He used to coach wrestling in a high school in northern Illinois. More importantly he owns a farm. He knows rural America. He is part of rural America. His quiet leadership of the house receives high praise and respect here in this difficult town. I thought you might be interested in what he had to say to our group.

I asked him in this politically charged year, if there was some major legislation that just might eventually pass. He first pointed out that the House has passed a truck load of bills and stacked them on the door steps of the Senate where they just sit there. Yet he believes that the transportation bill will reach the President's desk. That's good. We have ethanol language in that bill. Maybe the energy bill will pass.

After all we are lookmg at $2.00 gasoline. The energy bill would also be good for our ethanol and biodiesel industry. He still hopes litigation reform can get through the Senate. That would be another very big accomplishment. We are wasting billions of dollars on trial lawyers that spend every waking hour trying to find someone to sue. He said that another year there are three very important legislative objections we should target.

  1. . Litigation reform if we don't get it this year.

. Regulatory reform. Our economy is over regulated

. And tax reform. The federal tax system is way too complicated. Even many of the IRS employees can't give correct advice. We should look at a flat tax or a consumption tax , perhaps.

As I watch the legislative processes I marvel at how effective Speaker Hasteli has been. And how impossible it is to get anything done in the Senate where because of the rules they need 60 votes to get anything passed. A majority just isn't good enough.

Until next week. I am John Block from Washington.