October 13, 1995
Web posted at: 12:30 a.m. EDT
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Having moved their budget through two House committees this week, Republicans dared President Clinton to make good on his promise to veto their plan on the eve of an election year.
|Sen. Phil Gramm|
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Speaker of the House
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Senate minority leader
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The president said Thursday he'd rather lose the election than sign into law the Republican balanced budget plan.
"Would I sign a budget like this because they would hide some of the severe consequences in the election year, just to get re-elected? The answer is no," Clinton said. "I would gladly, gladly terminate my tenure here if the price of continuing it was just shelving everything I believe in about this country."(115K AIFF sound or 115K WAV sound)
House Speaker Newt Gingrich dismissed the threat. "He plans to run for re-election ... as I understood it," Gingrich said. The speaker said he wasn't convinced the president wouldn't sign the bills when the time comes in November.(235K AIFF sound or 235K WAV sound)
Clinton aides said the president will not only veto the legislation, but will keep the Congress in special session until it comes up with something he can support.
Republicans said they don't care.
"He can hold us in session until the Second Coming and there is no possibility that I am ever going to spend one nickel above the level we set out in our budget," said Sen. Phil Gramm, R-Texas.(143K AIFF sound or 143K WAV sound)
Republicans plan to put a dozen spending bills and their Medicare and tax-cut package on the president's desk in one big stack, then dare him to alienate voters by vetoing the lot.
The delay tactic would also give Republicans more time to resolve the substantial differences between House and Senate Republican versions. This after the House works out its own differences.
The partisan bickering produced colorful sound bites from the House Thursday:
The greatest source of contention between the Republican leadership and the White House this week has been the GOP Medicare proposal.
During a conference call with rural hospital administrators, Clinton charged that the Republicans' proposed cut in projected Medicare growth would have devastating consequences for those hospitals and the nation's elderly and poor. He also blasted the Republicans for supposedly transferring $3 billion in Medicare benefits for the elderly to payments for doctors -- in order to win the support of the American Medical Association.
"In the dark of night, the Republican leadership cut a deal with the AMA that once again put their interest ahead of the interest of the patients." (110K AIFF sound or 110K WAV sound)
The AMA says that's not true.
"There was no secret deal," said Dr. Thomas Reardon, a trustee for the AMA. "There was nothing done in the dark of night. These have been ongoing negotiating meetings, not only with the AMA, but with other groups for several months." (98K AIFF sound or 98K WAV sound)
Clinton says he's still keeping his door open to Speaker Gingrich and other Republicans -- hoping they will talk compromise. But one of the president's aides said "there's no sign of that yet."
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