Top Story: Both sides claim victory as White House and congressional GOP reach a balanced budget deal.
The Deal: How the numbers stack up.
Analysis: Now that the deal is done, who are the winners and losers?
Transcript: Clinton announces budget deal and takes questions.
Transcript: Lott, Gingrich, Domenici and Kasich comment at GOP leadership's ceremony.
Transcript: Briefing on balanced budget deal with Robert Rubin, et. al.
In Focus: AllPolitics special report on balancing the budget.
Budget Negotiators Getting Closer (5/1/97)
A Done Deal On The Budget
White House, congressional Republicans reach a balanced budget deal
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, May 2) -- With both sides claiming victory, the White House and congressional Republicans have struck a five-year balanced budget agreement. President Bill Clinton announced the pact, hailing it as "a balanced budget with balanced values." (256K wav sound)
Flanked by Vice President Al Gore and a group of Democratic senators in Baltimore, Md., Clinton announced, "We have reached agreement, in broad but fairly specific terms ... with the Republican leaders today that would balance the budget by 2002."
Insisting there is "no perfect agreement," the president emphasized details of the deal that had been high on the White House's agenda. Those included Medicare solvency, increased education spending, extending health coverage to approximately five million uninsured children, business incentives to encourage employers to hire welfare recipients and tax relief. (384K wav sound)
In a separate Republican ceremony held in the Rotunda of the Capitol, Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) echoed the president's sentiments that the agreement was a "compromise," but insisted that Republican priorities had not been compromised.
Lott said, "It is a compromise agreement with the principles of the president and the Congress being incorporated into what we have outlined in this budget agreement." (160K wav sound)
"It had to be that way," Lott said. "It had to include Republicans and Democrats in the Congress -- House and Senate -- and the president. That's the way our government works. But it is not a compromise on our principles." (356K wav sound)House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) called the deal "historic," adding, "This is a great moment for our children and our grandchildren and our country, and we are proud to be part of that."
The accord promises to balance the federal budget by 2002, and to remain in balance or in surplus after that.
It includes $85 billion in net tax cuts over five years, including a $500-per-child tax credit, changes in estate taxes and capital gains taxes, tax breaks for college tuition, and expanded individual retirement account provisions.
Medicare spending is slowed by $115 billion through 2002, which negotiators predicted would keeps the system solvent for another 10 years. Other federal entitlement programs will provide savings of between $600 billion and $700 billion over those 10 years.
Now, both sides must sell the budget plan to other Capitol Hill lawmakers.
Despite earlier complaints from congressional Democrats that they had been left out of the negotiation process, and that the administration was conceding too much, Clinton predicted he would get support from his party.
"Everyone will find something [in the budget] he or she disagrees with. Everyone could find something that he or she wishes were in the budget," Clinton said. "I ask Americans of all political parties and all philosophies to look at this plan, give it your support."
Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), who as late as Thursday had voiced skepticism about the emerging deal, also guessed that a majority of Senate Democrats would vote for this agreement. (384K wav sound)
Praising Clinton's leadership, Daschle called the agreement "another achievement in what has been a remarkable success now over the last four years."
A key player in the negotiations, House Budget Committee Chairman John Kasich (R-Ohio), called the deal "an investment in people," and stressed the GOP theme of returning power from Washington to local communities.
"This plan represents our effort to switch power, money and influence back to the American people," Kasich said. "Because we believe that America can be healed, that our families can be healed, that our neighborhoods can be healed, by people having power themselves to be set free to fix things as they know best."
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