Smackdown

Posted September 22, 2003 at 6:21pm

Inspired perhaps by World Wrestling Entertainment’s visit to the MCI Center last night, Republicans and Democrats engaged in what can only be described as a “policy smackdown” of their own on the Senate floor.

The two parties’ Policy committees engaged in the first of what will be a series of debates highlighting policy differences between the two political parties Monday night.

[IMGCAP(1)] Republican Sens. Rick Santorum (Pa.) and John Sununu (N.H.) squared off against Democratic Sens. Jon Corzine (N.J.) and Dick Durbin (Ill.) in a tag-team match over how best to address the future of Social Security.

In announcing the debate series, Republican Policy Committee Chairman Jon Kyl (Ariz.) described it as a way “for us to rise above 30-second sound bites for a true give-and-take on important issues in a way that the Founders might have envisioned.”

By holding the debates on the Senate floor, these “matches” will be carried live on C-SPAN, providing Senators with a national television audience. But the debates are unlikely to draw the same ratings as the wildly popular WWE television shows, causing one GOP staffer to lament, “If only we could get those ratings.”

As for the winner of the Santorum-

Sununu vs. Corzine-Durbin tag-team bout, the judges are still adding up the scores.

Remembering Davis. A memorial service will be held today on Capitol Hill for the late Albert Davis, who served as the chief Democratic economist for the Ways and Means Committee since 1999.

Davis died in May after being hit by a taxi cab near his home in Virginia. The memorial service, commemorating Davis’ 20 years of service to the House, will be held at 5:30 p.m. in the Ways and Means Committee room in 1100 Longworth.

Ties to Taiwan. Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) inaugurated the 10-member Senate Taiwan Caucus in the Capitol on Wednesday. The caucus was founded to strengthen ties between the United States and Taiwan, with the intention of furthering Taiwanese rights in the World Health Organization.

“We must continue to build and nourish the ties between our country and the people of Taiwan,” said Allen, who co-chairs the caucus with Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.). “With the kickoff of the Taiwan Caucus, I look forward to strengthening those ties as we address issues of mutual concern.”

The Taiwan Caucus is a bipartisan group of 10 Senators: Allen, Johnson, Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), Kit Bond (R-Mo.), Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va). The Senate Taiwan Caucus parallels the House Congressional Taiwan Caucus, which was established in April 2002 and currently has 120 members.

— Mark Preston, Erin P. Billings and Carolyn Shuckerow