Top Republicans push Clinton for Social Security billJanuary 17, 1999
Web posted at: 1:39 p.m. EST (1839 GMT)
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, January 17) -- The two top Republican congressional leaders on Sunday called for President Bill Clinton to propose a bill by March 1 to put the Social Security system on a secure footing.
In a letter to the president, Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Mississippi, and Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, R-Illinois, put "saving and strengthening Social Security" at the top of the legislative agenda, and asked Clinton to highlight the issue in his State of the Union address Tuesday.
They said the president should propose a bill to revamp the system without raising taxes or cutting Social Security benefits.
Clinton has opted to go ahead with the annual State of the Union address, even as the Senate is trying the president on two articles of impeachment.
Lott and Hastert noted in the letter to Clinton that the address "will occur under extraordinary circumstances." But they urged Clinton not to let those circumstances "distract us from the nation's legislative agenda."
In addition to the issue of Social Security, the two Republicans told Clinton that the nation's schools need to become "more competitive." They called for measures to give local officials "greater control over education spending, so that more dollars get to the classroom."
Lott and Hastert also called for a tax cut to keep the U.S. economy vibrant in the face of the world economic crisis.
White House officials have already released an outline of Clinton's planned address, which lists Social Security and education as two of the main topics.
Some lawmakers had urged the president to delay the address or submit it in written form because of the trial.
But Hastert sent a letter to his colleagues in the House Friday telling them the president's address should proceed and his remarks should be received "soberly and with the dignity that befits the United States Congress."
Sunday January 17, 1999
Top Republicans push Clinton for Social Security bill
Clinton rehearses for State of the Union address