Congressional GOP leaders' statements on budget

November 14, 1995
Web posted at: 10:20 p.m. EST

Abstract : The GOP congressional leaders say they are being subjected to unfair attacks by the president. They say that they are willing to pass a balanced budget this week, but that Clinton won't commit himself to a solid time frame.

Full Text:

LOU WATERS, anchor: The speaker and the majority leader have already begun with their statements following the president's assertion that he set up a balanced budget plan. Newt Gingrich has just challenged that by saying the president's budget plan called for $200 billion a year deficits ad infinitum. Here's Newt Gingrich.

House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Georgia: [joined in progress] -- but because he can't win the argument between spending more and spending a whole lot more, he has to try to create a phony argument about fantasy cuts that do not exist in order to frighten people about problems that aren't real. He talked about letting `Medicare wither on the vine.' The fact is, there is a 45 percent increase in general Medicare spending that is twice the inflation rate over the next seven years. Now, how anybody who has looked at the budget numbers could have this kind of gross misrepresentation is sobering.

He talked about -- Oh, and here are the two gentlemen who can give you the factual details at length. He said, `All Congress has to do --' Look, we're going to pass another continuing resolution in the very near future. We're going to move stopgap legislation. At the worst, if we can't reach any agreement with this administration we'll give the president a chance to sign a balanced budget when we pass the Balanced Budget Act, probably by Friday, and in that act we can add a continuing resolution - I mean- And - which will be clean because it will be attached to a balanced budget. And he could have in one bill an extension of the debt ceiling, continuing resolution to reopen the government - those parts that aren't already open - and he could have a balanced budget which he claims he wants. And so, by Friday night he may be able to get all three things in a way that he claims to desire. So, it's very hard to know how to deal with him and how to deal with this administration, and every time we reach out to try to help, we just encounter a new attack and a new mass of misinformation. Senator Dole?

Senate Majority Robert Dole, R-Kansas: I'd just comment on that first. It seems to me that we're up here trying to -- in fact, reached out to the administration last night, went out after the meeting and said positive things about the meeting and then we had Senator Daschle follow up too on Medicare, Medicare, and we have to do this, ought to do that, and then the day our two chairmen -- budget chairmen -- meet and then the president gets on and whacks away again at Republicans. But the thing I really observed in the president's short statement, I think he used the word 'balanced budget' at least a dozen times. And I would just say, Mr. President, if you want to balance the budget, you know, give me one more vote. We've got a balanced budget amendment in the United States Senate. You persuaded six Democrats who voted for it to vote against it. Just give me one of those Democrats and we'll pass a balanced budget amendment this week too. In addition to sending you a balanced budget, Mr. President- And I think if he really is so concerned- Someone suggested some overnight poll results found that most people like a balanced budget. But he's now talking about our message. Our message is a balanced budget by the year 2002, and he knows the American people want a balanced budget. And my view is that we're on that track. Somebody said we take a few hits when you're doing the heavy lifting -- I think Senator Domenici said this morning -- when the other side is doing nothing. But the net result will be that we will gain, the American people will gain, and those who've been doing nothing but criticizing and falsely stating what the facts are will be the loser. So, I would just suggest that, you know, will there be another CR going to the president today? We don't know. He didn't make it any easier with the statement he just made. And maybe if one goes, it ought to have strict language for a balanced budget in the next seven years using CBO figures. If he really wants a balanced budget, he ought to sign a CR with that language on it. But we will continue to meet during the afternoon. Whether or not there will be another meeting with White House representatives will depend upon the views of Senator Domenici and Congressman Kasich. But I think the important thing is if the president now says, as he said before, he wanted a balanced budget in five years and 10 years and nine years and eight years and seven years or never; he's on record for all of those. And we just suggest that he settle on the seven-year plan and get on board and we'll be able to work this out.

Rep. John Kasich, R-Ohio, budget chairman: [holding up a chart showing two horizontal graph lines representing how the president's budget plan will affect the deficit and how the congressional budget plan will affect the deficit] Let me just suggest to you that this is the path, the tail of two deficits as scored by the Congressional Budget Office. As you can see, the president has deficits as far as the eye can see. We balance the budget.

Now, look folks. You have an obligation. You have an obligation to hold the president accountable to the same standard that you've always held Pete Domenici and me. We have had all of our budgets counted by the budget office and they have been counted as accurate in getting to zero. When you take the president's plan and you send it to the budget office and they calculate it, he isn't anywhere near a balanced budget way beyond the turn of the next century. He never gets there. He has $200 billion deficits as far as the eye can see. If Domenici and I had brought to you a proposal based on our own, cooked up, economic assumptions and brought them to this gallery, you would have laughed us out of here. You would have criticized us. You would have said we didn't get the job done and we didn't keep our word. Well, the president has said he wants to balance the budget. He has to lay a plan on the table that does that. And when he doesn't you must hold him to the same standard.

Finally, under our plan to balance the budget federal spending will increase three trillion dollars more than what we spent over the last seven years. You know what we're fighting about? We're fighting about the fourth trillion. And if, in fact, the politicians can forego the fourth trillion, we're going to have lower interest rates on houses and cars and college educations today, and you think about what this economy will look like in 15 years if we fail. What kind of jobs will our children have? What kind of homes will they live in? And if, in fact, we can get the job done and forego the last trillion dollars, we're going to guarantee a bright future for our children. But you are the bottom line in terms of holding them accountable. Hold them to the same standards that you hold us and the American people will understand the truth and they will side with us on slowing the growth in federal spending and saving this country from economic collapse.

Sen. Pete Domenici, R-New Mexico, budget chairman: Mr. President, you make things very difficult with the speech you made today. Half-truths, misstatements, statements that you're making in it that are absolutely your version but don't happen to be the version of other experts, including the Congressional Budget Office. You are telling the American government workers that you want them to go back to work and you want us to work with you to do that, while you stand before the American people and fill the airwaves with half- truths, absolute statements that are inconsistent with anything that anybody else is saying, and if you don't think we're concerned about it, Mr. President, and if you don't think we don't want to hold your feet to the fire on a balanced budget -- which you touted so much today -- then let me just suggest one more time the reason we want to hold your feet to the fire is because that red line is yours, Mr. President -- two hundred and twenty billion dollars for as far as the eye can see. Republican proposal - in balance.

Mr. President, why should we believe and why should the American people -- whom you delivered your message to today about a balanced budget -- believe that you are serious? The reason we want to put something into continuing resolution is because we don't believe anyone should believe that you're serious when your budget does this [holding up chart shown earlier by Rep. Kasich] which is nothing. And you continue to tell the American people you've got a balanced budget. So, Mr. President, we're going to work for a continuing resolution. We want to put all the working men and women at work for our government back to work. But we're not going to do that and let you sneak by without any commitments on a balanced budget. We can tell you that for sure, Mr. President.

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