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Budget talks stall, again

Leon Panetta

December 20, 1995
Web posted at: 4:45 p.m. EST

From White House Correspondent Wolf Blitzer

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The latest round of budget talks stalled Wednesday during a meeting between White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta and House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

White House meeting

Panetta said there were some problems over House Republicans' unwillingness to pass a short-term spending bill to get 260,000 furloughed federal workers back to work.

"We thought we had made good progress last night," Panetta told reporters Wednesday after his meeting with Gingrich. "There obviously are some problems that have developed today with regards to our ability to get a continuing resolution. We just have to continue to see if we can find a way to get there." (213K AIFF sound or 213K WAV sound)

Freshman Republicans appear to be unwilling to pass another temporary spending bill, known as a continuing resolution or CR, until they have a budget deal.

Lindsey Graham

"There's no reason to do another CR because the last one we did, (President Clinton) didn't keep his word and I'm not going to be fooled twice," said Rep. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina. (162K AIFF sound or 162K WAV sound)

Moderate and conservative Democrats also expressed their frustration with the lack of progress.

Collin Peterson

"Frankly, we don't feel (Senate Democratic leaders) want an agreement. We don't think they're being realistic about some of these numbers," said Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minnesota. "Our big concern is that they're going to screw this thing up." (179K AIFF sound or 179K WAV sound)

Republicans have refused to renew a temporary spending measure to keep the government fully operational until the administration agrees to a balanced-budget plan that would eliminate annual deficits in seven years under Congressional economic calculations.

In the absence of a continuing resolution, White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry said Wednesday, some 13 million Americans will not receive veterans and welfare benefits this month.

A partial shutdown has been in effect since Saturday, when the last continuing resolution expired. Budget talks between Republican leaders and the White House have been going hot and cold.

Wednesday's meeting between Panetta and Gingrich was set up Tuesday night, when Clinton, Gingrich and Dole met at the White House in what they called "constructive" talks. The three agreed to meet together again, but that meeting appears to be on hold since the Panetta session ended in acrimony.

The shutdown, the second in a month, left roughly a quarter-million federal employees furloughed. Nine cabinet departments that do not have spending bills have been slowed by the shutdown. A temporary spending bill is necessary to keep them going. Clinton has signed seven such bills covering various units of government. Three are still in Congress and Clinton has vetoed three others.

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