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High level talks

Clinton calls for New Year's resolution to end budget impasse

December 30, 1995
Web posted at: 1:24 p.m. EST

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Clinton called for New Year's resolutions to reopen the government and balance the federal budget Saturday morning, just minutes before budget negotiations resumed at the White House.

"We know that our work is not done," the president said during his weekly radio address. "We know we have much to do so the American dream will stay alive for every citizen ... so that America can remain the strongest force for peace the world has ever seen."

Clinton said that negotiations between the administration and Republican Congressional leaders on Friday made progress, and that he was still hopeful that his goal of a balanced budget without gutting Medicare and other programs could be achieved.

Also on Saturday, the House of Representative passed a bill that would put furloughed federal workers back on the job with the promise that they would be paid later. Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole said that he hoped the Senate would pass the measure later in the day, despite some Democratic opposition. Dole also expressed optimism for Saturday's negotiations, saying that he hoped the two sides "can resolve this before the day is finished.

After three hours of face-to-face negotiations on Friday, all sides said that the prospects for a settlement of the budget stalemate that has forced a two-week partial government shutdown were improved. White House spokesperson Mike McCurry said Friday's negotiations ended "amicably," adding that Clinton was optimistic that a compromise would be reached.

Gingrich

House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Friday's talks "took the first big steps toward the balanced budget." "We hope in the next two or three days we could basically get this done and then have things up and running and every one paid while the staff work is finished out." (145K AIFF sound or 145K WAV sound)

Pres. Clinton

Although some Senate Democrats opposed the back-to-work measure proposed in the House, Clinton indicated that he liked the Republican idea to return furloughed workers to work, but he said he disapproved of their plan to not pay them until after the completion of budget negotiations. "The people ought to go back to work, and I think they ought to be paid," he stressed. "I think if we don't do it, we're going to see some very serious consequences."

Some Senate Democrats were also uneasy with the Republican back-to-work plan because it set a condition that a balanced budget deal would be considered under an expedited Senate procedure that would allow only 10 hours of debate. All amendments would have to be discussed within that time period.

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AP and Reuters contributed to this report



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