December 6, 1995
Web posted at: 4:15 p.m. EST
From Correspondent Bob Franken
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Clinton Wednesday vetoed the Republicans' seven-year plan for balancing the budget, using a pen Lyndon Johnson used three decades ago to sign Medicare into law.
"I am using this pen to preserve our commitment to our parents, to protect opportunity for our children, to defend the public health and our natural resources and natural beauty, and to stop a tax increase that actually undercuts the value of work," Clinton said in an Oval Office ceremony.
The White House promised Clinton would offer his own seven-year balanced-budget formula Thursday.
But the president's spokesman was coy when asked whether the proposal will be a full-fledged balanced budget based on economic data from the Congressional Budget Office, as Republicans demand.
"The president has instructed his negotiators to prepare ideas that could be part of a useful discussion in good faith. It's fair to say that it will be a useful contribution to the discussions when the discussion turn serious," said White House spokesman Mike McCurry. (170K AIFF sound or 170K WAV sound)
Republican leaders want specifics. "You have our plan. We cannot move forward until we have your plan," they wrote in a letter to the president.
With the deadline for another partial government shutdown just a week and a half away, White House negotiators joined congressional Democrats to continue budget talks with Republicans and hope to meet again later this week.
Talks were slowed as they waited for economic projections from the Congressional Budget Office, which both sides have agreed to use for setting budget numbers. A letter from the CBO's director, while not being specific, said the final analysis "is likely to be a more favorable budget outlook" than earlier guesses. An improved outlook would give the negotiators billions more to work with.
House Speaker New Gingrich painted a stark picture of what the failure to achieve a balanced budget could mean. "You will see interest rates skyrocket and the stock market crash because they (future generations) are counting on is to keep our word, because they actually believe we are different," Gingrich said. (119K AIFF sound or 119K WAV sound)
The pressure on both Republicans and Democrats is heightened by the likelihood that neither side could have the advantage in another government shutdown.
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