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Clinton, GOP pledge to avoid government shutdown

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, October 11) -- As negotiators began a second week of budget talks to reach a budget deal, both the White House and Republican congressional leaders pledged to settle their impasse without shutting down the federal government.

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With only five of 13 appropriations bills necessary to fund the government in place for the fiscal year that began October 1, federal agencies and programs are operating under a stopgap funding measure that expires at midnight Monday.

In a meeting with Democratic congressional leaders Sunday, President Bill Clinton said he would sign an extension of the temporary spending bill "for a couple of days," if negotiations were unfinished by the deadline.

"I will work with the Republican majority to do the right thing for our country," Clinton said. "We must pass a budget that is fiscally responsible, that honors our values, that invests in the education of our children."

On the Sunday talk shows, Republican leaders signaled that they will stay in Washington as long as it takes to hammer out a budget agreement, rather than going home to campaign for re-election.

House Majority Whip Tom DeLay, R-Texas, criticized Clinton for jetting off to New York and Florida for planned fund-raisers on Monday and Tuesday while the budget impasse remains unresolved.

"I just challenge the president to stay in town and get the job done," said DeLay on "Fox News Sunday" "Our members are willing to stay here and get our job done, if the president will negotiate with us in good faith and help us get the job done. We'll stay here right up through Election Day."

The White House announced that Clinton would delay his departure for New York until late Monday, so that budget talks could continue.

Four major issues are splitting the Democrats and the GOP:

  • The White House and Democrats are pushing for $6.2 billion to hire 100,000 school teachers and upgrade school facilities. Republicans say they are willing to spend that amount, but they want local school boards and states to control the money, rather than bureaucrats in Washington.

  • Clinton seeks $18 billion for the International Monetary Fund to deal with the burgeoning worldwide economic crisis. Republicans want a guarantee of reforms at the agency before they will commit the money.

  • Republicans object to providing federal funding to family planning agencies that offer information about overseas abortions. Democrats and the White House support the funding.

  • Republicans want to prevent the Census Bureau from using statistical sampling during the 2000 census, rather than relying on a actual count of the American people. Democrats say statistical sampling would provide a more accurate head count of minorities and the poor, who tend to vote Democratic. Republicans contend sampling is unconstitutional.

    Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Mississippi, said he believes a budget agreement can be reached by Monday or Tuesday, which would allow Congress to adjourn.

    "It seems to me that the areas where we can reach agreement are obvious, and the solutions are obvious," Lott said on CBS's "Face The Nation." "But it's been very slow in trying to get the administration to really meet with us and wrap it up."


  • RELATED STORIES

    DeLay wants Clinton to stay and work on budget (10-11-98)

    GOP leaders, White House wrangle over draft budget (10-10-98)

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

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


    RELATED SITES

    United States House of Representatives - 105th Congress

    The United States Senate


    MORE STORIES:

    Sunday, October 11, 1998



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