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Administration, GOP maneuver ahead of budget talks

November 25, 1995
Web posted at: 3:25 p.m. EST

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The White House has rejected a Republican demand that it come up with specific proposals on a seven-year plan to balance the federal budget before bipartisan negotiations begin. Instead, the White House has stated what it called its principles for achieving that goal.

letter

In a three-page letter on Friday, White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta said the agreement to end the six-day government shutdown called on the two sides to "(balance) the budget in seven years and (protect) the key priorities the president has laid out."

"Right now, neither of our balanced budget plans satisfy both objectives," Panetta wrote. "Now we must work together in a good faith effort to see if it is possible to meet all of the commitments contained in the continuing resolution (that reopened the government)."

Panetta was responding to a letter from House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole and the chairmen of the House and Senate budget committees demanding specifics of the president's plan for balancing the budget.

"Each of us could take the position that we cannot begin talks until the other side shows in detail how it can meet all of the demands of the other," Panetta wrote. "But such a position is unreasonable and unproductive."

principles graphic

Instead, Panetta provided the Republicans with its list of nine "principles" to guide next week's budget talks. The president, he said, wants quality medical care for the elderly under Medicare, adequate funding for Medicaid, tax fairness, maintenance of education funding, sustained progress in environmental protection, welfare reform, and adequate funding for agriculture, veterans benefits and defense.

Gingrich's press secretary, Tony Blankley, called the principles "bromides and platitudes."

"At some point the president may want to let the public know what his specific proposal is," Blankley said. "Or, maybe he thinks he can tap dance all the way to (the election next) November."



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