MINIMIZE PARTY POLITICS IN TACKLING RECESSION

January 31, 2002 11:00 pm

Our national leaders both in the Congress and the White House are to be commended for the way theyve come together to fight the war on terrorism. Politics in the nations capital seemed to be swept aside last fall as President Bush moved forward to free Afghanistan from terrorist training operations and the Taliban, that nations oppressive, pro-Osama bin Laden regime.

Democrats and Republicans alike on Capitol Hill are willing to work with the Republican White House as Bush expands the war on terrorism into other parts of the globe.

Meanwhile, on the home front, millions of people are out of jobs, companies are stagnant or in trouble and many Americans are wondering how to make ends meet as the recession lingers. Are Republicans and Democrats willing to roll up their sleeves and attack the economy as vigorously as they have the war on terrorism?

Democrats such as Rep. Dick Gephardt, the House minority leader from Missouri, know there are differences of opinion between their party and the president on how to best help the economy. But Gephardt seems willing enough to engage in a process that allows frank discussion between both sides on the economy. He is suggesting a bipartisan White House summit on economic growth.

Senate leadership also is tracking the same way. Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., says he was encouraged by the bipartisan cooperation that led to last years passage of an education bill. He sees it as a model for cooperation on other important issues, including the economy.

Its tough for Republicans and Democrats to come together during an election year and work out solutions to problems. But its not impossible. Gephardt and Daschles comments are encouraging signs that Democrats wish to work with Republicans.

President Bush and the Republicans in Congress should seize the opportunity to engage in dialogue with Democrats, not worrying what the fallout effects might be in Novembers election.

NOT A CUTE PRANK

To some it might seem like a silly little prank, but the bogus phone call to the Baker County Sheriffs Department early Monday morning must be taken seriously.

The call led police and search and rescue volunteers on a wild goose chase Monday in the Whitney, Austin Junction and Unity areas west of Baker City. The search cost thousands of dollars and occupied about 20 people throughout the day.

The caller, representing herself as Kala Haller, 13, told authorities that a man had abducted her and her sister, Elizabeth Haller, 16, and that Elizabeth had escaped and was stranded somewhere off Highway 7. The call was an obvious hoax. The Haller girls, missing for several months from Michigan, were found unharmed Tuesday with their mother in West Virginia.

Every effort should be made to locate the person or persons who made the call. The perpetrators should be prosecuted to the fullest extent possible.