December 16, 1995
Web posted at: 2:30 p.m. EST
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Here we go again.
A temporary spending bill expired at midnight Friday leaving the federal government without funds to operate a full-speed.
The full impact of the latest budget impasse won't be felt until Monday when 260,000 federal workers may be told to stay home. By that time, however, the Congress could pass another stop-gap spending measure to buy time while larger budget issues are resolved.
In his weekly radio address Saturday, President Clinton blamed the partial shutdown on the Republican-controlled Congress, which failed to pass a new emergency spending measure. "The Republicans should come back to the table. Congress should immediately pass straightforward legislation to reopen the government," he said. (Transcript of Clinton's radio address )
Budget talks broke down Friday night as Republicans walked out claiming the White House was not negotiating in good faith.
Republicans also accused the White House of reneging on an agreement to rely on Congressional Budget Office figures for their budget calculations which are not as optimistic as projections from the administration's Office of Management and Budget.
A delegation of about 40 Democratic members of Congress planned to meet with President Clinton Saturday to discuss budget strategies. The Democratic Task Force on the Budget planned to meet later in the day.
Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole said the Senate would stay in session all weekend if necessary to work on the budget.
"Republicans realize what happens in Washington in the next few days will affect every state in the nation and every family in this nation," Illinois Governor Jim Edgar said during the Republicans' radio address Saturday. (Republican response to Clinton's address)
Weekend tourists were expected to feel the immediate impact of the budget stalemate due to closings of national parks, monuments and museums. But visitors to Grand Canyon National Park will be spared some inconvenience this time. Arizona struck a deal with the U.S. Department of the Interior. The state will contribute more than $17,000 a day to keep two popular areas of the park open.
While Washington is lacking the spirit of giving this holiday season, the national Christmas tree has also been spared.
President Clinton will pay out of his own pocket the electricity bill to keep the Christmas tree aglow during another partial government shutdown, according to White House Spokesman Mike McCurry. Republicans have offered to pay half the cost.
If no emergency spending measure is passed by Monday the effects will be broader. Nine cabinet departments and multiple agencies will be partially closed. These include those departments and agencies for which no appropriations bills have been passed. Among them: the departments of Interior, Commerce, Health and Human Services, Labor, Justice, State, Education, Housing, Veterans' Affairs, the Environmental Protection Agency and NASA.
All told, some 260,000 "non-essential" workers would be asked to stay home, about a third of the number furloughed during the last budget stand-off in November.
Republicans and Democrats were quick to point the finger at each other when budget talks broke down Friday.
The Democrats "just want to use optimistic rosy economics and cook the books," said Senate Budget Chairman Pete Domenici, R- New Mexico.
"The closing of the government is on the president's back," said House Budget Committee Chairman John Kasich, R-Ohio.
President Clinton said, "It is simply wrong for the congressional Republicans to insist that I make deep cuts in Medicare and Medicaid, or they will not even talk, and furthermore, they will shut the government down again, just before Christmas."
The rapid break off in talks Friday night was unexpected. Both sides had earlier said progress might finally be possible, and that they were ready for marathon talks through the weekend.
Each side came armed with a proposal -- but the two sides were so suspicious of each other they decided to ask Budget Director Alice Rivlin to flip a coin to see whether the White House or Republicans would go first.
The two sides then quibbled over the results of the coin toss. Finally, they presented their proposals to each other at the same time.
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