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Clinton: Chance to re-open government fading

November 18, 1995
Web posted at: 11:55 p.m. EST

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Clinton Saturday said that an opportunity to lift the budget deadlock and re-open the government "may be slipping away." He stressed there would be no progress until the Republicans stopped making passage of their seven-year budget plan a condition for ending the deadlock.

In his weekly radio address, he urged Republican lawmakers to pass legislation that would re-open government while talks between the White House and the GOP continued on balancing the budget.

"I know for many people across our country, all this conflict and drama look just like people in Washington are playing politics again," Clinton said. "But this is way beyond politics. What's at stake is nothing less than two different visions of our country, and two different futures for our people."

The president said he had hoped Republicans and Democrats of good faith would be able to work together toward a common understanding. "But this morning, it looks like this chance to re-open the government may be slipping away."

The Republicans followed Clinton's radio speech with one of their own. Rep. Mike Parker, R-Mississippi, contended that Congress was willing to stand firm on their budget plan because "we are doing what you asked us to do."

"It is important that all of us, people who care about this nation, understand that we cannot spend ourselves into prosperity," Parker said."The current furlough of non-essential government employees has confirmed what Americans already know: Washington is full of excess bureaucrats."

Parker said that all the GOP had asked was that Clinton commit to balancing the budget in seven years. "Everything else would be on the table," he said.

Clinton said he wanted to continue working with Congress and end the partial shutdown, which entered its fifth day Saturday. But he stressed that he wanted to balance the budget "without unbalancing our values."

Clinton exhorted the GOP to abandon its plans to slash spending on healthcare, the environment and education in order to balance the budget. "If the price for any deal are cuts like these, then my message is, no deal," Clinton said.

Declaring the Republican's budget bill "dead on arrival," Clinton said the plan, which seeks to balance the budget in seven years and eliminate 60 years of Democrat social programs, would hurt the country.

The measure was expected to be sent to the White House as soon as the House voted Saturday on changes made by the Senate.

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