Republicans Call Clinton's Budget a 'Starting Point"

  • Share
  • Read Later
WASHINGTON, D.C.: President Clinton sent a $1.64 trillion budget plan to Congress today, four percent more than the estimated $1.57 trillion the government will spend this year. Clinton's 1997 budget promises nearly $100 billion in tax relief and a balanced budget by the year 2002. But TIME correspondent Karen Tumulty reports that Capitol Hill Republicans have practically rejected the document out-of-hand. "This budget doesn't really change things; at most, this is a starting point," Senator Pete Domenici told Tumulty. The G.O.P. reaction is no surprise: "Clinton's budget is a political event," Tumulty says. "It's an exercise that they go through when the Congress is not of the President's party -- we saw the same thing through most of the 1980s." The significance of this budget is that it provides a blueprint of themes Clinton will address in his campaign. Following an outline he released six weeks ago, Clinton describes his fiscal vision: tax cuts for families, billions in savings from Medicare, welfare and other benefit programs, and increased spending on the environment, education and advanced technology. He would also add agents to the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Clinton's proposed $100 billion in tax cuts over seven years would eventually include a $500 tax credit for each child younger than 13 and a $10,000 deduction per family for college tuition. The President would increase capital gains taxes $4.1 billion over seven years. In April, Republicans will start drafting their own plan, which will most likely conform to welfare and Medicaid reform proposals suggested by state governors and GOP leaders during 1996 budget negotiations. Clinton invited Bob Dole and other Congressional leaders to the White House on Wednesday for a new round of budget talks. In recent campaigning, Dole has questioned Clinton's resolve to balance the budget: "Mr. President, if you want a real balanced budget, if you want to make fundamental changes, I'm willing to sit down with you, Mr. President, any time you're serious."