Updated 8-21-97

full story Sealing The Deal

The Spending Side

The Tax Side


The Balanced Budget Amendment


Key Terms

Appendix: Clinton's Feb. 6 Budget

Related Stories

The Budget Deal: A Conspiracy Of Celebration Yep, Congress and Clinton finally balanced the budget. But in their haste to hand out goodies, they missed a chance to defuse some time bombs. By Nancy Gibbs/TIME, 8/11/97

The Tax Bill: Money In Motion Why some of the "wealthy" have nothing to gain. By Daniel Kadlec/TIME, 8/11/97.

Related Sites

The Office Of Management and Budget

The Congressional Budget Office Gopher

The National Debt Clock Counterpoint

Did Congress Approve Tax Measures Favoring The Well-Off? Iris J. Lav, associate director of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities believes so, while J.D. Foster, executive director and chief economist for the Tax Foundation says the big winners are middle-class families.

Does The Budget Deal Address The Long-Term Entitlement Spending Crisis? -- John Tottie, Senior Economist with Citizens for a Sound Economy says the deal only worsens entitlement spending, while Brookings Institution Visiting Fellow Joseph White argues policymakers can't plan now for problems that are still 30 years off.

Is A Balanced Budget Amendment A Good Idea? Heritage Foundation senior fellow Daniel Mitchell takes on Robert Greenstein, executive director of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.



Balancing The Budget


clintonMay 2, 1997 -- White House and congressional Republican negotiators announce a pact to balance the federal budget by 2002.

May 8, 1997 -- Word surfaces that despite the May 2 announcement, congressional negotiators and White House officials are still negotiating the fine print. Meanwhile, a CNN poll indicates Americans support the deal 50-26 percent, though by a margin of 81-17 percent, they doubt the deal will actually succeed in balancing the budget by 2002.

May 15, 1997 -- Amidst speculation that the budget deal is falling apart, negotiators meet to hammer out more details.

May 16, 1997 -- The White House and congressional negotiators announce a more specific blueprint solidifying the budget pact of May 2. Hours later, the House Budget Committee passes the budget resolution 31-7.

May 19, 1997 -- The Senate Finance Committee passes the budget resolution 17-4, without substantial amendments.

May 20, 1997 -- House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt comes out in opposition to the budget pact. The Missouri Democrat slams the plan on the House floor, citing a wide array of objections. "This budget agreement is a budget of many deficits," Gephardt said. "A deficit of principle, a deficit of fairness, a deficit of tax justice, and, worst of all, a deficit of dollars."

May 21, 1997 -- In a late-night vote, the House passes the budget resolution 333-99. An attempt by House Transportation Committee chairman Bud Shuster to add $12 billion in highway spending to the plan's $125 billion falls just shy, 216-214.

May 22, 1997 -- After Senate passage of the budget resolution, Senate and House negotiators find themselves at an impasse, delaying a vote on a reconciliation bill.

May 23, 1997 -- The House and Senate pass reconciled versions of the budget deal.

June 5, 1997 -- A House subcommittee unanimously approves a measure that slows Medicare's growth by $115 billion over five years.

June 10, 1997 -- GOP Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Archer presents $85 billion in tax cuts at a news conference.

June 11, 1997 -- Monitoring congressional tax writing committees, White House aides complain that GOP proposals "break faith" with the budget deal.

archerJune 13, 1997 -- On a party-line vote of 22-16, the House Ways and Means committee approves a broad-based capital gains tax cut, estate tax relief, and credits for higher education. Earlier in the week, committee chairman Bill Archer drops plans to reduce the minimum corporate tax, while beefing up the estate credit.

June 16, 1997 -- Republicans seek to take the offensive on tax cuts. Comparing the president to a "spoiled brat," Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott says, "Beginning [today] we are going on the offensive in trying to explain what's in the [tax] bill, why it's important to working Americans and what the president is up to."

June 17, 1997 -- House Majority Leader Dick Armey tells reporters that he doesn't feel bound by the budget deal. The following day he backtracks and pledges to support it.

June 19, 1997 -- The Senate Finance Committee OKs a 20-cents-a-pack cigarette tax hike. Clinton warns congressional Republicans he won't support indexing capital gains for inflation.

June 24, 1997 -- The Senate approves income-linked premium hikes and boosts a gradual increase in minimum eligibility age for Medicare from 65 to 67.

June 25, 1997 -- The House and Senate separately pass budget bills broadly reflecting the May 2 agreement. The final Senate vote is 73-27; the House vote is 270-162.

groupJune 26, 1997 -- Voting mostly along partisan lines, the House passes a bill cutting taxes $135 billion over five years, while hiking cigarette taxes by 20 cents a pack.

June 27, 1997 -- About half the Senate's Democrats join Republicans approving a Senate tax bill similar to the one passed by the House.

June 30, 1997 -- President Clinton unveils his tax proposals, largely in line with the congressional packages, but Clinton says he offers greater benefits to middle-class Americans than the GOP measures do.

July 3, 1997 -- The White House and congressional leaders plan separate pitches to sell their tax proposals.

July 9, 1997 -- The president indicates he will support raising Medicare premiums for higher-income seniors.

July 23, 1997 -- Weighing in on tax negotiations, the White House says indexing capital gains taxes is unacceptable, and says the child tax credit must be extended to low-income workers who receive the Earned Income Tax credit.

July 24, 1997 -- The White House greets revised GOP budget proposals coolly.

.gingrichJuly 28, 1997 -- White House and congressional GOP negotiators reach agreement on budget and tax packages.

July 31, 1997 -- The House and Senate wrap up work on tax and budget bills, passing both by large majorities.

Aug. 1, 1997 -- Budget and tax bills are sent to Clinton for his signature. Meanwhile, a CNN/TIME poll indicates the public gives more credit for the deal to the GOP.

Aug. 5, 1997 -- Flanked by GOP and Democratic lawmakers, President Clinton signs budget and tax bills, calling it the fulfillment of "the responsibility of a generation."


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