Clinton Returns Home To Fight For Fall Agenda
From CNN Correspondent John King
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Sep. 7) -- After three weeks of golf and relaxation, President Bill Clinton returned to Washington Sunday, rested and ready to promote his wish list for the fall congressional session.
Among the items on his agenda will be a plan for national education standards and testing. Clinton this week will also ask lawmakers to give him new powers to negotiate trade deals throughout Latin and South America.
And even as his party's controversial 1996 fund-raising efforts face scrutiny, Clinton will be urging Congress to make campaign reform a fall priority.
"All these challenges will require bipartisan cooperation. Many of them will require difficult decisions," Clinton said at a recent news conference.
But Republican leaders are indicating that, at least for now, they are more interested in investigating past campaign irregularities than debating new reforms.
"I'm for finding out what happened in terms of what laws were broken in 1996, and then we could look at what we need to do to tighten those laws up," said Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott on CNN's "Evans and Novak."
And that is hardly the only area where the White House and Republican leaders are likely to be at odds.
In an interview with CNN, House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Republicans will not accept Clinton's approach to education reform. He says it gives Washington too much power over local school standards and spending but doesn't give parents school choice.
"Sometimes I think if they offered more real leadership and less rhetoric, we'd get a lot more done," Gingrich said.
There are other signs that the tranquility Clinton enjoyed for three weeks on Martha's Vineyard could quickly give way to turmoil back in Washington.
For one thing, some Democrats are likely to oppose the president's request for new authority to make trade deals. And Republicans plan to push proposals to revamp the Internal Revenue service and allow people in welfare-to-work programs to be paid less than the minimum wage.
Gingrich said the IRS mishandles more than 10 percent of tax returns -- and makes even more mistakes in other programs.
"That is such a huge level of fraud and error and waste that we believe the (IRS) should be overhauled now," Gingrich said.
So back in Washington, Clinton knows his days of putting around are over. Indeed, his first week back is filled with speeches designed to sway public opinion behind his fall agenda.
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