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House takes break from budget battle

Republicans make counter-offer to end shutdown

November 18, 1995
Web posted at: 11:45 p.m. EST

From Correspondent Candy Crowley

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The fifth day of a government shutdown forced a sixth day of work for Capitol Hill lawmakers. On the seventh day, the speaker had planned to rest.


But plans changed when the motion to adjourn until Monday was put to a vote and Democrats sent up a flare. "Mr. Speaker, I demand a roll-call vote on that. We have no business going home if the government is still shut down," said Rep. James Moran, D-Virginia, amid cheers from the floor. (73K AIFF sound or 73K WAV sound)

The House voted against adjournment, but the Republican leadership immediately recessed to the call of the chair, which means that the House is out till Monday.

"The president canceled his trip to Japan and 800,000 workers are not working," said Minority Whip David Bonior. "(House Republicans) decide they want to take a two-day break. So we put it to a vote, and lo and behold, the House said that they wanted to stay and work. And what did the Republicans do? They recessed. They vanished."

On the budget front, there was a lot of shuttling in and out of meeting rooms, except for presidential candidate Bob Dole, who was sweating out the results of the Florida straw poll, and shuttled in and out of town. Dole won the non-binding poll with 1,104 votes.

What went on inside those rooms? To the naked ear, it didn't sound like much.

"I had hoped the Republicans and Democrats of good faith would be able to work together to re-open government and to continue our larger debate over national priorities," President Clinton said in his weekly radio address Saturday. "But this morning, it looks like this chance to re-open the government may be slipping away." (135K AIFF sound or 135K WAV sound)


House Speaker Newt Gingrich was still taking the hard line. "The final result of balancing this budget and saving these kids' future is not negotiable," he said. (43K AIFF sound or 43K WAV sound)

Like voices out of the wilderness, the less raucous but no less frustrated Senate was beginning to issue bipartisan calls for an end to the stalemate.


"There is no reason at all to have a continued shutdown, in my opinion," said Sen. Byron Dorgan, R-North Dakota. "There's no juice left in that lemon for anybody." (88K AIFF sound or 88K WAV sound)

Still, at twilight Saturday, there was a hint of daylight. The Republican leadership said it had a counter-offer for the White House. The president and his staff said they would study it overnight.

The offer still would commit the president and Congress to a balanced budget no later than 2002, but it provides more flexibility around the question of whose budget assumptions would be used. The plan says the Congressional Budget Office will provide the numbers "following a thorough consultation and review" with the Office of Management and Budget and other authorities.

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