When the new Republican Congress was sworn in last January, the South finally conquered Washington. The defeated Democratic leadership had been almost exclusively from the Northeast, the Midwest and the Pacific Northwest, with Speaker Tom Foley of Washington, Majority Leader Dick Gephardt of Missouri and Majority Whip David Bonior of Michigan in the House, and, on the Senate side, Majority Leader George Mitchell from Maine. The only Southerner in the Democratic congressional leadership was Senate Majority Whip Wendell Ford of Kentucky.
I. In January, as the value of the Mexican peso plummeted, President Clinton, Majority Leader Bob Dole and House Speaker Newt Gingrich agreed to a U.S. Treasury plan guaranteeing $40 billion of new loans to the Mexican economy. The loans, it was hoped, would stop the peso’s fall and also save the investments of American banks and mutual funds that had bought high-interest Mexican bonds after the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). As Congress began debating the deal, hundreds of CEOs and business lobbyists led by John W.