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Budget negotiations on hold

Leon Panetta

December 1, 1995
Web posted at: 8:50 a.m. EST

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Budget negotiations between the White House and congressional Republicans reached an impasse Thursday, in the third day of talks on a seven year balanced budget plan.

The sticking point was not unexpected -- Republican insistence that the White House provide financial details of its plan, and Democratic insistence on talking about policy issues first. Republicans have refused so far to use President Clinton's already-presented 10-year balanced budget plan as a starting point.

During Thursday's discussions, White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta offered figures for specific programs for veterans, banking, civil service and air waves -- issues agreed to by Republicans for the first day of discussion.

Republican leaders

Republicans countered with a demand to decide whose budget figures to use in the negotiations -- those provided by the Office of Management and Budget or the Congressional Budget Office.

"Today's budget meeting went the same way the past two days of meetings have gone -- nowhere fast," said Republican Congressman John Kasich.

Democrats were disappointed with the talks. Both sides had agreed to consider the President's policy priorities, Panetta said, "but that's not what happened." (179K AIFF sound or 179K WAV sound)

"I hope that after a good night's sleep that the Republicans will be ready to get back to work," he added.

Senator James Exon, D-Nebraska, told CNN that the meeting began on an acrimonious note because Republicans were angry that the White House released an evaluation of the GOP budget proposal to the press rather than providing it to the Republicans.

A source from the Republican negotiating team confirmed that report and said Republicans told the Democrats and White House advisers that they are negotiating in "bad faith" by dealing through the press rather than directly with the Republicans. Tom Daschle

Budget meetings are now on hold at least through the weekend, although Democratic negotiators said they were willing to continue through the weekend. Senate Budget Committee Chairman Pete Dominici said that Republicans want to wait to meet with Democrats until new budget estimates have been released next week by the Congressional Budget Office and more details are provided by the Administration on their seven year plan.

"It would be nice if we could work up to Christmas and then have a Christmas break, but I would be surprised if we're able to do it before Christmas," said Sen. Tom Daschle, D- South Dakota.


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