Clinton urges Republicans to finish balancing budget President says agreement between parties is close

April 28, 1996|By LOS ANGELES TIMES

WASHINGTON -- President Clinton urged congressional Republicans yesterday to join with him to "finish this job" of fashioning a plan to balance the federal budget in seven years.

Speaking in his weekly radio address, the president said that "the ingredients for a balanced budget are clearly at hand. All we have to do is sit down together and assemble a final agreement based on the things we already agree on."

With the November elections solidly in mind, Mr. Clinton was alternately tough-talking and conciliatory as he directed a portion of his remarks to the Republican majority in Congress.

"I know some people in your party are urging you to reject bipartisan negotiation in favor of more partisan confrontation," he said. "That would be a terrible mistake.

"If it is your political strategy to concoct a budget that you hope I will not sign, you ought to think again. If you torpedo these negotiations today after so much progress has been made on a balanced budget, simply to create a campaign issue for later, the American people will see through that with their eyes closed."

Mr. Clinton's address aired one day after he signed a $160 billion appropriations bill for the remaining five months of the 1996 fiscal year, ending a rancorous 16-month impasse that saw two partial shutdowns of the government.

Mr. Clinton said he and congressional Republicans are "within inches" of agreement on a long-range balanced budget "and nothing -- not politics, not partisanship, not presidential campaigns -- nothing should be allowed to stop us."

The likelihood of an election-year agreement on a balanced budget is slim. GOP leaders said last week that Republicans plan to write their own budget before considering renewed talks with Mr. Clinton.

Pub Date: 4/28/96

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