November 18, 1995
Web posted at: 1:50 p.m. EST
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Clinton vowed again Saturday to veto the Republicans massive plan to balance the budget.
The House was expected to finalize the budget measure Saturday and send it to the White House.
During his weekly radio address, the president again expressed his concerns over budget expenditures for social programs. "This budget is dead on arrival when it comes to the White House," said Clinton," and, if the price of any deal are cuts like these, my message is no deal."
Disregarding Clinton's veto threats, Republicans pushed the sweeping balanced-budget bill through the Senate Friday by a vote of 52-47. Because the Senate amended the bill, the House was planning to vote on it again Saturday.
House Speaker Newt Gingrich called the bill "the largest domestic decision since 1933" centered on the question of "whether or not state and local governments and individuals should have more power or whether all the power should be kept in a bureaucratic system in Washington." (191K AIFF sound or 191K WAV sound)
Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole concurred, calling the budget bill "probably the most important vote" he's cast in his 34 years in Congress.
As attention turned to long-term budget plans, the short-term budget stalemate continued. Republicans continued to mull over a compromise offer from Democrats to end the budget face-off with a continuing resolution acceptable to both Congress and the president.
"We'll continue throughout the day to try to negotiate a continuing resolution," Dole said during a Saturday press briefing.
"This budget is dead on arrival when it comes to the White House, and, if the price of any deal are cuts like these, my message is no deal."
-- President Bill Clinton
White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta, who took the offer to the Republicans, also indicated talks were continuing.
The proposed compromise offered by the White House calls for some flexibility on the Republican time-frame for balancing the budget and a reduction in some GOP-proposed cuts in federal funding.
One of the main sticking points in the dispute has been over which economic forecasts to use in calculating budget figures. While Democrats are prepared to make the language on economic assumptions in a compromise interim spending bill vague, House Republicans want to use the forecasts of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), a choice Clinton opposes.
Panetta attended a meeting with congressional Democrats Friday, and reportedly met later with House Budget Chairman John Kasich, R-Ohio.
White House press secretary Mike McCurry said he thought the meetings were a positive development. "It reflects the determination by the president, by Republicans and Democrats in Congress, to try to figure out a way out of this crisis that we're now in."
The pressure on both sides to end the face-off had increased as the week wore on. Dozens of moderate Democrats either abandoned the president or were thinking about it, and Republicans were aware that polls show more Americans blame GOP leaders, rather than Clinton, for the impasse.
"It asks too much of people in the middle class and people trying to get into the middle class, people who have almost given up on the American dream,"
-- House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt, D-Missouri
"I hope we can have some resolution," said Dole. "I understand that there are different people talking to different people about different things."
The Balanced Budget Act, the cornerstone of GOP efforts to shrink the government, would cut taxes by $245 billion over seven years, while reducing spending on Medicare, welfare, and Medicaid benefits, farm subsidies and other federal programs.
"This bill will lower interest rates, lower taxes and provide more freedom for the American people," said Gingrich. "It's up to the president to sign it; frankly, he has no alternative plan, and he is morally required to come up with a detailed plan of his own if he doesn't sign this."
House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt, D-Missouri, said the balanced-budget bill was unbalanced in its priorities.
"It asks too much of people in the middle class and people trying to get into the middle class, people who have almost given up on the American dream," he said.
In another budget-related development, Dole and Gingrich announced Saturday final passage of the Department of Defense appropriations bill. If Clinton signs the bill, Gingrich said it would send 180,000 federal employees, or almost a third of those furloughed, back to work.
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