Press

George W. Bush's First 100 Days: The White House Runs To The Right

Date: 
May 01, 2001

During his first 100 days in office, George W. Bush has largely ignored issues directly relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community and has launched attack after attack on workers, women and the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

According a recent analysis in the Washington Post, Bush's appointments while in office have positioned him as the most conservative president in modern U.S. history. "The most conservative administration in modern times, surpassing even Ronald Reagan in the ideological commitment of his appointees," said the Post.

"George W. Bush's first 100 days in office have offered a startling contradiction between benign photo ops and harsh policy and between moderate rhetoric and stark reality," said NGLTF Political Director Tim McFeeley. "In light of the fact that Republicans control both chambers of Congress and the White House for the first time in nearly 50 years, the course he has embarked on during his first 100 days poses great risks to many of our allies in the progressive movement."

In his first 100 days, Bush has:

  • Sent mixed messages on AIDS policy. Bush became the first-ever Republican president to appoint an openly gay man to a White House job when he named Scott Evertz as the director of the Office of National AIDS Policy. But Bush has at the same time flip-flopped badly on AIDS policy. His chief of staff first announced it was closing the Office on National AIDS Policy, but White House aides later said the office would remain open and would be restructured. Furthermore, Bush’s proposed budget proposes little or no funding increases for domestic AIDS prevention and treatment programs - despite increased caseloads.

  • Opposed choice. Bush imposed a ban on federal funds for overseas groups that perform or advocate access to abortion. The move will threaten access to about $425 million in funding used by organizations in developing countries to promote family planning, nutrition and counseling. Bush also signed an order stating that women receiving Medicaid benefits may not use the funds to pay for the RU-486 abortion drug, except in cases of rape, incest or when the mother’s life is at stake.

  • Shut women’s office. Bush closed the White House Office on Women's Issues, a move that was described by the National Organization for Women's Patricia Ireland as "really foolish and high-handed."

  • Reversed workers' rights. Bush signed a bill repealing pending federal regulations that would have helped workers with repetitive motion injuries. Under the guidelines, which were advanced under former President Clinton but never took effect, employers would have had to inform workers of the risk of repetitive motion injuries and would have had to assist workers with medical costs resulting from such injuries. The regulations were aimed at helping cashiers, assembly-line workers, meat cutters, fork lift operators, secretaries and computer operators, among others. In addition, Bush attempted to block rules to make it easier for sick coal miners to receive help if they suffered from Black Lung disease.

  • Pushed for tax cuts for the wealthy. Bush proposed a tax plan that he claimed would result in the "average American" receiving $1,600. But an analysis by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy found that the plan would give back $46,000 for the richest 1 percent, and just $42 for the lowest 20 percent.

  • Proposed tax support for religious institutions. Bush proposed a plan to channel tax dollars to religious and other private schools and also announced his intention to pursue proposals that would give tax money to religious institutions to provide social services, in clear violation of the constitutional mandate separating church and state.

"If there is hope for the nation and for the progressive movement, it rests in the closely divided Senate," McFeeley concluded. "During the next two years we must remind our moderate Republican Senators and moderate and progressive Democrat Senators that Bush did not receive a mandate from the voting public to govern so sharply from the right."

Monitor George W. Bush by visiting NGLTF's W Watch web site.

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The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.