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Shutdown and debt ceiling threat removed from GOP arsenal in budget battle.

January 14, 1996
Web posted at: 7:10 p.m. EST

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- House Budget Committee Chairman John Kasich, R-Ohio, echoing a promise made a day earlier by House Speaker Newt Gingrich, said Sunday there would be no more government shutdowns and the federal debt ceiling would be raised to prevent a default on the government's debts.


Kasich said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press" that the Republican-controlled Congress would keep pressure on President Clinton to reach a balanced budget deal by passing a series of limited continuing resolutions.

"We're going to have what's called 'targeted appropriations,'" Kasich said. "We're going to fund programs that we think are important and not fund the programs that we think are not important." (247K AIFF sound or 247K WAV sound)

"I would suspect we're not going to have funding for programs like Americorp," he said. Americorp is one of Clinton's projects to provide paid service opportunities for young people. Kasich also suggested not funding the Commerce Department.

"If [Republicans] continue to try to go after what the president believes are important programs for this country and they try to target appropriations, the president will continue to veto those," White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta said Sunday CBS's "Face the Nation." (More from Panetta (136K AIFF sound or 136K WAV sound))

Kasich said Congress will raise the $4.9 trillion federal debt ceiling, making it easier for the government to increase its borrowings and reimburse holders of maturing government securities.

"We're going to raise the debt ceiling," Kasich said. "In my opinion, we should. My sense is you don't want to mess around with defaulting here in the United States."

Republicans, who control Congress, have twice forced the government to shut down by refusing to provide the funding needed to pay federal employees except as part of a balanced budget plan, which Clinton vetoed.

Without a budget deal, and if the GOP continued that strategy, another partial shutdown could occur on January 26 when current temporary funding measures expire.

The shutdown strategy, however, apparently backfired. A Time magazine/CNN poll issued Saturday said Americans think Clinton has handled himself more responsibly than Republican leaders during recent budget negotiations.

"The shutdown was all about how do you pressure an executive to do what an executive doesn't want to do?" Kasich said. "And frankly, I'm not sure what other ways there are to get him to do things."

Budget negotiations will resume Wednesday. However, Americans should not expect an agreement this week.

"We're universes apart" on the issues, Kasich said. "We are miles and miles away." (332K AIFF sound or 332K WAV sound)


Panetta said on CBS the two sides have agreed to at least $660 billion in savings over seven years and a budget deal is in sight if they put ideological issues aside.

"The Republicans aren't really interested in compromise," House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt, D-Missouri, said on NBC. "They want it their way or the highway and the president is not going to do that." (More from Gephardt (230K AIFF sound or 230K WAV sound))

Gephardt said 50-50 odds for a deal were "probably as good as you can put on it."

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AP and Reuters contributed to this article

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