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.
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:
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."
Sunday, October 11, 1998