November 30, 1995
Web posted at: 11:40 p.m. EST
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- House Republican leaders Thursday ruled out any deal with the White House on next year's spending bills without a commitment to the GOP's seven-year balanced budget plan.
"You can't divorce the two, it's all the budget," House Speaker Newt Gingrich told a news conference.
A senior administration official said White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta has been trying to make a deal with congressional Republicans to restore several billion in domestic funding in exchange for Clinton signing the six remaining spending bills that contain most of the Republican spending cuts.
"We are not even asking for halfway which is what the blue dog Democrats are asking for."
-- White House official
Programs funded in the remaining spending bills include housing, education, veterans, and environmental programs.
President Clinton said Thursday he's signing the defense spending bill, even though he says it's too costly, because it will provide the money to send troops to Bosnia.
The White House official said Republicans rejected Panetta's first offer of $8 billion in additional domestic spending in exchange for Clinton's acceptance of the seven spending bills.
Panetta countered with an offer to accept $6.8 billion in additional domestic spending, primarily for education and the environment.
One of the budget negotiators told CNN, "Our offer is out there to the Republicans now, but the clock is ticking. Republicans are going to have to decide whether they want this agreement or not."
White House officials said they were not asking the Republicans to take the $6.8 billion out of defense spending for domestic spending. "The money does not have to come from defense spending. But we have to have the additional spending on education and the environment and that is a principal we will stick by," a White House official said.
"Right now the focus is the big picture," the official said. "There is a $22 billion difference between our request for overall spending in all of these bills and their spending level. We are not even asking for halfway which is what the blue dog Democrats are asking for. But the key areas for us - - education and the environment -- have got to get more funds. On those areas we have to hold firm."
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