Clinton Transcript: Feb. 6 Press Briefing
Clinton Proposes A $1.69 Trillion Budget
It's Just the Opening Act In What Could Be A Long Struggle
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Feb. 6) -- In the first chapter of this year's federal budget drama, President Bill Clinton this morning sent to Congress a $1.69 trillion spending plan loaded with new money to bolster education. The budget projects a small surplus by 2002.
While details of Clinton's budget have leaked out in dribs and drabs for weeks, today marks the formal submission that starts the budget process. For weeks, Republicans leaders have said they were encouraged by some of the president's words, but wanted to see the budget's fine print.
In a briefing at the Old Executive Office Building, Clinton told reporters he believes the nation can balance the budget and keep it balanced "for a good long time."
"All it takes to balance the budget is discipline and action," Clinton said. He said he is encouraged by the Republican leadership's cooperative attitude, but Clinton didn't gloss over their differences, either.
"Some of the differences we have are truly principle differences and we'll have to work hard to have an honorable compromise, but I believe that we can do it as long as the Republicans and the Democrats agree that we have to achieve this goal. We've got the best chance in a generation to do it."
While the federal deficit has fallen sharply in the past four years, the budget projects it will rise this year. And nearly two-thirds of $388 billion in deficit savings that Clinton expects will occur in so-called "out-years" -- 2001 and 2002 -- after he has left office.
In an interview with CNN, Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin said the administration is encouraged by the atmosphere surrounding the budget deliberations to come.
"There will undoubtedly be issues," Rubin said. "There are issues, there are differences. But the president has a very well developed budget that goes to balance, that within that context has priorities in education...middle-income tax cuts, and the other areas he thinks are critical to future prodcutivity and having the kind of society we want to have.
"We'll start with that base and work with the Republicans to put in place a balanced budget and I believe that the probablilites are high that we will in fact work out a deal this year with the Republicans," Rubin added.
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