From: Ann Curley/CNN Capitol Hill Producer
In: Washington, D.C.
Subject: Armey "Hopeful" About Balanced Budget Agreement
During his weekly briefing, House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas) maintained his hopeful position regarding the possibility of White House and congressional negotiators reaching a budget agreement.
Armey, echoing past comments on the negotiations, said, "There are encouraging signs ... we have every reason to believe that the White House is clearly and seriously trying to get to an agreement on a balanced budget."
"But whether or not that is possible, they have their priorities and we have ours, and it's problematic, but the discussions I think, are healthy and I think they're worthwhile ... and while we don't want to have irrational exuberance, we don't want to despair either," Armey continued.
Armey noted that they have a rough timetable to stick to, because of the need to come up with dollar figures for the appropriating committees. He said Republicans are "feeling very strongly and committed to having a budget resolution by the first couple of weeks in May" but added that the discussions "will still continue til the last of the year" until the last of the appropriations measures is finally signed.
Armey was also peppered with questions regarding the current House moratorium on filing ethics complaints. He said that he will meet with House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.) this afternoon on ethics, explaining that he expected the moratorium to be extended until May 8th, when a task force that is analyzing the ethics process is expected to produce a report.
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