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GOP leaders, White House wrangle over draft budget

Graphic October 10, 1998
Web posted at: 6:26 p.m. EDT (2226 GMT)

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, October 10) -- Congressional leaders and Clinton administration officials worked behind the scenes Saturday, trying to break a budgetary impasse that could lead to a partial government shutdown by Tuesday.

  • Disputes cover IMF, census, education, abortion
  • Tax-cut compromise being crafted

    With only half of the appropriations bills needed to run government departments in place, Clinton signed a stopgap spending bill late Friday to keep the rest of the government running -- but only through Monday.

    The spending measures should have been finalized by October 1, the beginning of the 1999 federal fiscal year.

    Negotiators planned to work through the weekend to hammer out deals that would keep all of the federal government operating, and free members of Congress to go home to campaign for re-election.

    "I don't see that we are going to have a whole lot done before Monday afternoon," a House Appropriations Committee source told CNN.

    White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles said that while negotiators have made "some progress," they have "more work to do."

    Republican leaders have said they want to avoid a government shutdown, and they have accused Democrats and the White House of trying to use the budget standoff and a possible shutdown for political advantage. When the government shut down during a similar imbroglio three years ago, the GOP took much of the blame.

    But Saturday, the top Senate Democrat, Minority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota, said that if a budget agreement isn't reached by the Monday deadline, he expects another stopgap measure to be passed, avoiding a closure.

    Disputes cover IMF, census, education, abortion

    Sources tell CNN that the three major issues being negotiated by Bowles, Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott and House Speaker Newt Gingrich are disagreements over providing more money to the International Monetary Fund, funding family-planning organizations that provide abortion information and using statistical sampling for the 2000 Census.

    The White House apparently angered some GOP leaders Saturday by requesting $6 billion for 100,000 new teachers and school improvements as part of a budget deal, an effort some Republicans see as a political move to portray them as shortchanging America's children.

    President Bill Clinton pushed for the education spending in his Saturday radio address, saying it was critical to add teachers to reduce class sizes in the early grades. He urged Republicans to join Democrats "to put progress over partisanship."

    But a House leadership source told CNN that Saturday marked the first time that administration officials have said they wanted 100,000 new teachers and money for school improvements to be part of any deal on education spending.

    Republicans "fully expect (Clinton) to demagogue this issue, and that's all it is, pure and simple," Lott said.

    He said Republicans will support increased education funding, but he said the GOP will insist "that the decisions about how to use it are made at the local and state level and not controlled out of Washington."

    Tax-cut compromise being crafted

    While the negotiations continued behind the scenes, both the House and Senate held rare Saturday sessions, trying to finish up legislative business before lawmakers recess.

    The House was expected to meet briefly Sunday, and both houses plan sessions Monday, even though it is the federal Columbus Day holiday.

    Senate Finance Committee Chairman William Roth, R-Delaware, introduced a 10-year, $8.4 billion tax cut package, aimed at helping farmers, the self-employed and businesses.

    The House Ways and Means Committee offered a competing $9.2 billion tax cut package Friday. Efforts were under way to craft a compromise acceptable to the House, Senate and White House.


  • RELATED STORIES

    Battle lines drawn in budget showdown (10-09-98)

    Congress wrangles over tax, spending measures (10-8-98)

    Pentagon: Military needs more money to keep troops in top form (9-14-98)


    RELATED SITES

    United States House of Representatives - 105th Congress

    The United States Senate


    MORE STORIES:

    Saturday, October 10, 1998

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