NWednesday, September 6, 2000 - The Michigan Daily - 9A
GOP worries Clinton will provoke budget standoff
WASHINGTON (AP) B Bothered by the
election-season leverage wielded by President
Clinton, Republican leaders expressed worry
vesterday that Democrats will try to provoke a
year-end budget standoff as Congress rushes
to finish its annual spending work.
"I'm concerned the White House wants to cre-
ate a mess at the end of the session for political
purposes, Senate Majority Leader' Trent Lott
(R-Miss.) told reporters as lawmakers filtered
back to the Capitol after their August recess.
Senate Budget Committee Chairman Pete
Domenici (R-N.M.) and other Republicans
said they would not let such brinksmanship
escalate into a federal shutdown, such as two
;hat wounded the GOP in 1995 and 1996.
Even so, Republicans said they believe
Democrats will try to grind Congress' work
to a crawl to minimize GOP accomplish-
ments. highlight Democratic demands for
gun safety and other popular issues and keep
Republicans from going home to campaign
John Podesta, the White House chief of
staff, said "we have no interest" in forcing a
closure of federal agencies just before the
elections. Indeed, with close races for control
of the White House and House and an outside
shot at winning a Senate majority, Democrats
must be careful to not press their hand too far
and risk a public backlash.
With the election so near, "I don't think either
side is going to want to rock the boat" with a
budget standoff, Senate Appropriations Commit-
tee Chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) said.
But with just two of the 13 spending bills
necessary for the coming fiscal year siigned
into law -- covering most defense accounts
- Clinton and Democrats are saying little to
ease the worries of many Republicans.
With fiscal 2001 beginning Oct. 1, both
sides know the GOP will have to yield to
most of Clinton's demands for billions in
extra domestic and foreign aid spending
before remaining bills can be signed and law-
makers can return to their districts. The two
sides also have numerous policy differences,
such as how to spend extra education dollars
that will be provided.
"We are committed to breaking the legisla-
tive logjam," Clinton said after discussing
legislative strategy at the White House with
Democratic leaders yesterday morning. "But
we have to move forward with fiscal respon-
sibility, with responsible tax cuts and with
public investments that give all our people a
chance and fuel our prosperity."
While Clinton's comments generally
underlined what Democrats' demands would
S.D.) was more succinct about their strategy.
"We're not going anywhere until we're sat-
isfied," Daschle told reporters.
The I I incomplete bills cover the budgets of
13 Cabinet level agencies from the Agriculture
Department to Veterans' Affairs, plus spend-
ing for Congress, the courts and foreign aid.
Though spending legislation will be Con-
gress' chief focus in its remaining five sched-
uled weeks, lawmakers also will devote time
to other items. These include some measures
that have virtually no chance of becoming
law but will allow one party or the other to
make political statements in time for the
presidential and congressional elections, now
just nine weeks off.
The House plans to vote tomorrow to over-
ride Clinton's veto of a bill phasing out estate
taxes. That effort and one next week against
Clinton's veto of a bill cutting taxes for many
married couples are virtually sure to fail but
will let Republicans argue that taxes would go
down with a Republican in the White House.
Republicans hope, however, to pass tax
bills this year expanding the amounts people
can contribute to IRAs and 401(k) plans,
repealing the 3 percent telephone excise tax
and providing S6 billion in tax breaks over
five years to spur investment in poor urban
and rural areas.
They also hope for small business tax
breaks that they have attached to a bill
designed to meet Clinton's demand to boost
the S5.15-an-hour minimum wage by Sl
hourly by Jan. 1, 2002.
Meanwhile, Daschle said Democrats will
continue trying to force votes on issues they
want to spotlight for the elections, such as
increased richts for managed-care patients,
gun safety and the minimum wage.
be, Senate Minority
Leader Tom Daschle (D-
Senate moves toward vote
on China trade relations
WASHINGTON (AP) - China trade was the first order.
of business yesterday as the Senate returned from its sum-
mer recess with leaders of both parties determined to
approve the normalization of trade relations before law-
makers close shop to campaign before the November elec-
Passing the bill this year is "profoundly important for the
countrv," said Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.). a leading advo-
cate of widening trade with China.
While supporters believe they have a solid majority in
the Senate, they face two real dangers - time limitations
as Congress rushes to finish its work for the year and the
determination of some senators to link normalized trade to
China's weapons proliferation and human rights record.
The [louse approved the China trade bill last May on a
237-197 vote, and the concern is that any Senate amend-
ments to that bill would effectively kill it for the year
because there wouldn't be time for the two chambers to
work out differences between the measures.
"Bluntly, a vote to amend is a vote to kill this bill and,
with it, any chance that U.S. workers, farmers and busi-
nesses will benefit from China's accession to the World
Trade Organization," Sen. William Roth (R-Del.) said as
the Senate began debate on the measure. Roth is chairman
of the Finance Committee.
China's trade status has been subject to annual review
under a 1974 act governing trade with communist states.
The legislation to make normal trade relations permanent
comes after China last year, as part of its effort to join the
WTO, reached an agreement with U.S. negotiators on low-
ering its tariffs and removing trade barriers.
Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) said he
hoped to reach a final vote on the trade'bill by the end of
The biggest fight is likely to be over an expected amend-
ment by Sens. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.) and Robert Torri-
celli (D-N.J.) that would urge the president to apply
sanctions against China and others contributing to weapons
Thompson has rewritten his measure to give the presi-
dent more latitude, in applying sanctions, but both the
administration and American business groups still oppose
it, saying China would merely turn to European and Japan-
Commission of Presidential Debates technical operations director Jeff Kulliver shows plans to reporters and producers for the
first of the three 90-minute, nationally televised debates, which is scheduled to be at the University of Massachusetts in
Boston, during a walk-through yesterday. Texas Gov. George W. Bush has said he won't appear at the Boston debate.
Candidates, networks spar
NEW YORK (AP) - Instead of
agreeing to three 90-minute, nation-
ally televised debates in October, as
proposed by the Commission oil
Presidential Debates, Texas Gov.
George W Bush has said he would
participate in one of those debates
and two others suggested by NBC
One would match the two con-
tenders in a prime-time version of
NBC's Sunday morning talk show.
"Meet the Press" moderated by Tim
Russert. The other would be an edi-
tion of Larry King's talk show on
The Gore campaign has said it
will not agree to Bush's plan unless
Bush also commits to all three com-
mission debates with their potential-
ly wide viewership
Executives at ABC and CBS said
yesterday they would not broadcast
debates organized by rival networks
CNN and NBC. as proposed by
"We will not carry another net- Gore and George Bush campaigns.'
work's programming . said Paul he said. "I think now that CNN and
Friedman, executive vice president of NBC are in danger of that."
ABC News. "We're not in the busi- Bill Wheatley, vice president of
ness of carrving the efforts ofanother NBC News, said he didn't feel the
network. where we have no control network was being used, Ihe noted
over the format or the questions that both the Bush1 and Glore cam-
asked" paigns had urged NBC' to air a prime-
CBS. which has proposed a debate time edition of 'Meet the Press" and
for its Sunday morning show, "Face that other networks have tried to book
the Nation," also would not carry a the candidates, too. "They themselves
"Meet the Press" or Larry King were vying for debates," he said. "I
debate, spokeswoman Sandy can only assume that they were com-
Genelius said. . fortable with that sort of thing."
"It's their talk show, why would we ('NN aired 12 debates during the
put it on our air?" she said. "It would primarv season and will telecast any
boil down to incredible promotion for Bush-Gore debate that is made avail-
a competitor's broadcast." able to the network. spokeswoman
ABC has also invited Gore and Sue BinfOrd said
Bush fora debate. The presidential debate commis-
Friedman said the squabble was sion proposed the three debates to be
"all part of the game" and Bush held on college campuses in Boston,
apparently was proposing debate for- Winston-Salem, N.C., and St. Louis.
mats that he was most comfortable Gore has agreed to participate in
with. "Our job is to try not to get those debates, Bush incorporated the
involved in being used by the Al St. Louis debate into his proposal.
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