• U.S.

In the Party’s Mainstream

4 minute read

Her Queens district is Democratic in registration but Conservative in attitude. Yet Geraldine Ferraro’s voting record is pretty consistently liberal. Her stands on major issues:

The Military. She supported a House resolution calling for a mutual, verifiable freeze on the production and deployment of nuclear weapons. She opposed funding for the MX missile, the new B-1B bomber, production of nerve gas and President Reagan’s Star Wars concept of space-based defenses. On the other hand, she has spoken of the need for a strong defense and backed funding of the Trident Nuclear Submarine, the Pershing II Nuclear Missile and Draft Registration.

The Budget. She voted against Reagan’s three-year 25% cut in individual income tax rates. Yet she also opposed a bi-partisan package of tax increases in 1982, partly because it initially included the withholding of taxes on savings-account interest and stock dividends. She voted against many of Reagan’s spending cuts in social programs. This year she supported a black caucus budget proposal calling for a $203 billion slash in military spending over three years coupled with a $99 billion hike in social spending. Although she explained that she considered the military cuts excessive, she supported the package because of her interest in restoring funds for programs helping the poor, the elderly and children.

Foreign Affairs. She is a strong supporter of Israel’s role in the Middle East, opposing the transfer of AWACS planes and Stinger anti-aircraft weapons to Saudi Arabia. She was against the deployment of U.S. Marines in Lebanon. She sharply opposes the CIA-guided operations of contra forces against the government of Nicaragua. She voted against the Administration’s request for $62 million in emergency military aid to El Salvador and supported strong requirements that any military aid to that government be tied to improvements in human rights conditions. She urges greater efforts by the Administration to resume arms-control talks with the Soviet Union.

Social Issues. She parted company with Democratic leaders and opposed the use of mandatory busing to provide a better racial balance in public schools. She also supported Reagan’s proposal to provide tax credits for parents who send their children to private, including parochial, schools. Although she voted for the Social Security reform package of 1983, she expressed reservations about a six-month delay in cost of living increases and she opposed any increase in the age at which retirees can begin collecting benefits.

Women’s Rights. Even though she is a Roman Catholic, she supports free choice for women on abortion, and has voted for federal funds to provide abortions in cases of rape, incest and endangerment of the mother’s life. “I have been blessed with the gift of faith,” she explains. “But others have not. I have no right to impose my beliefs on them.” She championed the Equal Rights Amendment, and considers herself a feminist. She sponsored legislation that would help women in private pension plans by lowering the age at which a woman becomes vested; an amendment permitting wives to set aside the same amount in IRA accounts as their husbands; and a measure to give better pension rights to women who become widows or divorcees at younger ages than now provided for by law. She worked for a bill to cut off federal funding of child-protection programs in states failing to require adequate medical care for severely handicapped children.

Labor. As does Mondale, she supports the protectionist “domestic content” bill requiring that all autos sold in the U.S. be produced with a certain amount of American-made parts and U.S. labor. She voted for the federal subsidies that helped ailing Chrysler Corp. avoid bankruptcy.

Local Issues. She has helped New York City get federal funds to provide security at the United Nations, as well as more federal help for mass transit. She urged that federal airport funds be spent to alleviate street-traffic problems near airports, with La Guardia’s impact on her Queens neighborhood in mind.

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