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Day four and no end in sight for the federal shutdown

November 17, 1995
Web posted at: 11:15 a.m. EST

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Day four of the partial federal shutdown began Friday with no end to the budget stalemate in sight.

With help from seven Democrats, the Republican-controlled Senate approved late Thursday a short-term continuing resolution to put all federal workers back to work. But the bill, which calls for balancing the budget in seven years, was headed toward another veto from the White House.

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White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry said the president "will veto that measure when it arrives, hopefully then we can finally get down to some serious talks, but this has gone on too long." (253K AIFF sound or 253K WAV sound)

"We are only asking for a commitment that in seven years you will have a balanced budget using conservative economics so we will not be burned again," said Sen. Pete Domenici, R-New Mexico and chairman of the budget committee. (128K AIFF sound or 128K WAV sound)

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Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-South Dakota, said the Democrats would support a seven-year budget resolution only if there was an agreement that Medicare is not going to be used for tax cuts. No such promise was given. (70K AIFF sound or 70K WAV sound)

There was a note of hope from Rep. Roger Wicker, R- Mississippi, president of the 73-member House freshmen class, who said Friday morning, "If the president will agree on a seven year budget that really works ... then all the details within that are negotiable. We realize there's going to have to be give and take." (195K AIFF sound or 195K WAV sound)

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Meanwhile, the House began debate Friday on a sweeping bill Republicans said would balance the federal budget. President Clinton promised Thursday to veto that bill as well.

"I will still veto any bill that requires crippling cuts in Medicare, weakens the environment, reduces educational opportunity or raises taxes on working families," President Clinton said Thursday as he announced that about 52,000 federal workers were being called back to process a backlog of Social Security and veterans' benefits claims.

The House was expected to approve the Republican blueprint, to balance the budget in seven years, and send the bill to the Senate for debate on Saturday. The bill would cut taxes by $245 billion over seven years, while cutting Medicare, welfare, and Medicaid benefits, reducing subsidies to farmers and cutting hundreds of federal programs.

The budget crisis began four days ago when Clinton vetoed bills that would raise the debt ceiling and allow the federal government to continue spending money. The president said the bills contained provisions that would have forced him to accept the Republican budget plan.

The latest stop-gap spending bill passed the Senate by a vote of 60 to 37, with seven Democrats voting for it.

Meanwhile, the barrage of public statements continued with little prospect in sight for ending the budget crisis and getting more than 700,000 federal employees back to work.

House Speaker Newt Gingrich, after complaining to reporters that he had been treated rudely and ignored by the president on a trip to Israel, attempted to recast his complaint in a new light.

"I am just saying there has been day after day, week after week, now, of lost opportunity for us to get together to sit in a room and work this thing out between the legislative and executive branches," said Gingrich.

Senate Majority leader Bob Dole also lamented that no progress is being made toward settling the budget crisis. "I wish there was a better way in trying to resolve this than these public salvos back and forth," said Dole. "the president says something, we respond. Why aren't we talking to each other."

The public had its say Thursday. As the budget stand-off continued, the House received 54,740 calls from constituents, 300 percent more than normal and the biggest one-day total for the House since phones were installed.

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