WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans fired their salvo in the drug war Friday, offering a package that includes a death penalty, more power for the military to track smugglers and a tax checkoff to help pay for it all.
They immediately moved into negotiations with Senate Democrats, who offered their own package a week earlier, and Majority Leader Bob Dole of Kansas predicted: "If we can reach a consensus, I think we could move (to pass a bill) very quickly, maybe next week or the following week."
The GOP package, to cost about $1.3 billion in 1987, is the fourth proposal in the last two weeks. The House passed a $3-billion measure last week; Senate Democrats have proposed a $1.6-billion package and the White House has suggested a $900-million initiative.
The topic has become a hot political issue, but Dole said: "In my view, this isn't a contest to see which political party wins the anti-drug race."