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Budget Talks

Late-day budget meeting set;
unpaid workers go to court

Budget impasse in Day 18

Shipman and Franken

January 2, 1996
Web posted at: 11:35 a.m EST

From Correspondents Clare Shipman and Bob Franken

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- After taking New Year's Day off, Clinton administration officials and congressional GOP leaders are set to resume negotiations over the federal budget as the partial government shutdown extends into an 18th day. President Clinton is expected to meet with Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole and House Speaker Newt Gingrich on Tuesday evening.

About 280,000 "non-essential" federal workers have been furloughed for more than two weeks. Nearly 500,000 "essential" employees are considered "emergency workers" and are on the job without pay. The White House estimates the shutdown is costing about $40 million a day in lost productivity.

Some of the workers deemed essential are going to court. The National Treasury Employees Union is seeking a restraining order to stop the government from requiring employees to be on the job if there is no provision to pay them.

The president of the 150,000-member union, Robert Tobias, sent a letter to members of Congress urging them to end the furlough while negotiations continue. "But at a minimum," the letter said, "at least have the decency to turn over your own pay to help the innocent victims of this shutdown." protesters

In Chicago Monday, newly elected Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. and his father joined a protest by furloughed workers who are fed up over the budget impasse.

Low-level negotiators spent 13 hours last weekend in what officials described as something like seminars on how to proceed with the negotiations. White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry said they covered "important philosophical ground" in hopes of giving a fresh start to the talks.

Tuesday evening, each side is expected to present options toward balancing the budget in seven years. McCurry said a final deal is not expected.

McCurry said the session was set for late in the day because Clinton and his advisers had "a lot of preparation work today" and he assumed the Republicans were "doing likewise."

The budget impasse has left Congress in sort of a constitutional bind. The Constitution requires the congressional session begin by noon on January 3 of each year. But the 1995 session remains open because leaders have been waiting for a budget deal before closing it. Leaders Tuesday were considering how to proceed.

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