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 Lots Of Inertia, Little Lawmaking As Election '98 Approaches (CQ, 07-20-98)

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Sen. Lott Spells Out A Fall Agenda

He says spending legislation, ending 'marriage tax' penalty will be priorities

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Aug. 31) -- Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott laid out a legislative agenda Monday for the final five weeks of the 105th Congress, saying the first priority must be to maintain the balanced budget agreement.

 Transcript: Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott Lays Out Fall Agenda

Lott said he hopes Republican and Democratic lawmakers can work together on FY '99 appropriations and tax relief measures, but acknowledged the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal "casts a shadow upon our work here and our ability to work together."

Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott

"Our main goals for the year are this -- first of all, to live up to our commitment of a balanced budget that we entered into last year between the Congress and the president, and to maintain the surpluses that have been coming forth partially as a result of that budget agreement," Lott said.

"We don't want that surplus to be frittered away on spending programs, one program after another or one excuse after another," he said. "We made a commitment. We ought to stick to it."

In a briefing with reporters, Lott said he expects the Senate to work on spending bills, bankruptcy reform legislation, defense issues and maybe a patients' bill of rights during the final five weeks of the session.

He said he also expects an attempt to eliminate the so-called "marriage tax," the extra income taxes that some married couples pay beyond what they would pay if they were single and filed separate tax returns.

In the limited time left, Lott said, the Senate's focus "will have to be the appropriations bills, the tax or budget issues, and some of the broader reforms that are already in the process."

Much of the briefing was dominated by Lott's comments about the Lewinsky sex scandal bedeviling the President Bill Clinton. Earlier this month, Clinton admitted to a sexual relationship with the former White House intern, after nearly seven months of denying it.

Lott said the Lewinsky disclosures had cost the president credibility.

"That's what really matters," Lott said. "Will he, can he provide leadership at a very critical time internationally and domestically? And I guess only time will answer that question." | Lott's Remarks

In Other News

Monday, August 31, 1998

Clinton Defends Russia Trip As In U.S. Interest
Sen. Lott Spells Out A Fall Agenda
Lott: Clinton's Behavior 'Disgusting' But He'll Withhold Judgment

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