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November 15, 1995 - Image 12

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-11-15

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12 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, November 14, 1995
House GOP is
routed by public
opinion polls

AtOIW M -__-_

Continued from Page 1

The Washington Post
WASHINGTON-When the House
Republican Conference gathered be-
hind closed doors yesterday on Day
One of the Shutdown, Speaker Newt
Gingrich's remarks on the budget ne-
gotiations were so perfunctory that few
could remember precisely what he said.
No Knute Rockne-style exhortations,
not even the usual Gingrichian analo-
gies to the Civil War or Greek history
or the Duke of Wellington. Charlie
Bass, a freshman Republican from New
Hampshire, said, "Newt told us what
we had been seeing on television."
moment of truth 4
that House Major If this
ity Leader Dick
Armey foresaw not balaf
back at the dawn of
ihe Republican seven ye
revolution - the
moment when will h V e
kesmight buckl ? internal r
uner te pressue
The answer ap- baefn
pears to be not
quite, not yet. seven. P4
On the battlefield
of public-opinion - Rep. S
polls, House Re-
publicans are get-
ting routed.
There are whispers of tension at the
top, of tactical disagreements among
the speaker and his lieutenants. The
freshman troops, at once the rearguard
and vanguard of the self-proclaimed
revolution, keep looking for turf on
which they can take a glorious last
stand. Press secretaries and publicists,
message handlers for the rhetorical war
with the Democrats, alternate between
testiness and an all's-well joviality that
betrays an inner uncertainty.
But there are no indications of seri-
ous panic or disarray within Team
Gingrich, no indications that any on his
side are about to break ranks.
According to interviews with a di-

verse array of Republican legislators,
the House GOP remains unified on one
non-negotiable item: a seven-year bal-
anced-budget plan certified by the Con-
gressional Budget Office. They expect
Clinton will win some concessions along
the way - first on Medicare, later on
education and environmental programs
- but that they will emerge from the
give-and-take with the balanced budget.
Sources close to the leadership said
there were a few points of internal dis-
agreement during the first day of nego-
tiations with the Democrats, butGingrich
and Armey were said to be fully aware

aced 1
ars ..
Sam Brow

that they could not
tt IS seven-year budget
even if they were
11 inclined to, which
You they insisted they
. OU were not.
Sam Brown-
back of Kansas, a
Y u leader of the
HouserGOP fresh-
men, said any such
Hy would provoke a
wnback "If this budget
R-Kan. is not balanced in
seven years, the
same thing will

U.S. Postal Service carrier Robin Pearson parks in Detroit yesterday. Postal Service employees are not part of the shutdown.
Govenunent ht centers on
budget forecasting diferecesoKi;

unsuccessfully tried to broker a com-
promise before Clinton vetoed the stop-
gap funding bill Monday night, turned
to thecameras and said, "Mr. President,
you make things very difficult with the
speech you just made."
Federal buildings and national parks
were forced to shutter across the na-
tion as all but "essential" workers -
such as air-traffic controllers, border
guards and military personnel - were
told to go home. Employees at the
Agriculture and Energy departments
kept working because the President
and Congress have already agreed on
their 1996 spending bills. At the Capi-
tol, many cafeterias were closed, but
the congressional franking operation
carried on as usual.
An overnight ABC News poll found
that 46 percent of those surveyed
blamed the Republicans for the stale-
mate and 27 percent faulted Clinton.
While lawmakers in the more ideo-
logical House - personified by
Gingrich - appeared thrilled with the
dispute, Dole and many other senators
looked like they had been invited to
the wrong costume ball. "I'm sick and
tired of this," one GOP senator said.
"We look like babies, and the Presi-
dent is scoring points."
The argument between Clinton and
the Republicans is rooted in an arcane
debate about the "numbers," Washing-
ton parlance for the estimates of future
economic growth and government rev-
enue. In order to theoretically eliminate
the budget defcit in seven years, the
Republicans have relied on Congres-
sional Budget Office figures that are
slightly more conservative than esti-
mates by mainstream Wall Streetecono-
The White House uses estimates gen-
erated by the Office of Management
and Budget, which generally tracks the
mainstream economists.
Making these sorts of predictions is a
highly inexact science - one year in the
future is difficult to predict, while seven
years in the future is pure guesswork -
but even slight differences can mean
hundreds of billions of dollars less - or
more - in government revenue.
In his address, the President empha-
sized that using last-minute emergency
measures to force him to choose be-
tween a government shutdown and ac-
ceptance of the Republican budget had
been a Gingrich strategy since April.

happen here to our leadership that hap-
pened to George Bush when he broke
his promise of no new taxes," said
Brownback, who had spoken twice with
Gingrich over the past 24 hours. "You
will have an internal revolt. You have
to balance in seven. Period."
The freshmen, whom Gingrich once
half-jokingly referred to as "a third
party," have played an unusually strong
role in the budget debate, twice draw-
ing what they called lines in the sand on
issues that they insisted had to be part of
any deal: elimination of the Depart-
ment of Commerce and defunding of
non-profit groups that lobby on Capitol

The Washington Post
WASHINGTON-The federal gov-
ernment ground to a halt yesterday as a
result of a knock-down, drag-out fight
over one-tenth of 1 percent.
As the haggling continues between
President Clinton and the Republican
Congress over a stopgap funding bill,
the biggest remaining sticking point
seems to be which set of economic
assumptions should govern the ongo-
ing negotiations over the budget - the
more pessimistic assumptions of the
Congressional Budget Office or the
ever-so-slightly more optimistic fore-
cast of the Clinton administration's
Office of Management and Budget.
These small differences in assump-
tions about economic growth, inflation
and interest rates, when compounded
and projected over seven years, add up
to one very big number-$475 billion.

That's how much the projected federal
deficit would be reduced by using the
rosier OMB assumptions. Adopting
these administration assumptions would
mean that one-third less in spending
cuts would be required to balance the
budget over the next seven years than if
the CBO assumptions were used.
Whiletheir ramificationsmaybesig-
nificant, the differences in economic
assumptions themselves are rather nig-
gling - well within the margin of error
for economic forecasting.
"In economic forecasting terms, these
two forecasts are essentially the same is
as likely to be true as the other," said
David Berson, president ofthe National
Association of Business Economists.
"So I'm not sure what this fight is really
What it's about is pride and politics,
observed Robert Reischauer, who re-

cently stepped down as CBO director.
The Republican chairmen of the House
and Senate budget committees,
Reischauer said, have been strongly
critical of OMB's economic assump-
tions for many months, making it very
difficult now to back away from those
statements without running the risk that
voters will accuse them now of fiscal
Clinton, however, has shown he can
be flexible on such matters. In 1993, in
his first State of the Union address, the
new president declared that he would
adopt the CBO's more pessimistic eco-
nomic forecasts as the basis for his own
first budget "so that no one could say I
was estimating my way out of this dif-
But by this June, the president was
unveiling his own plan to balance the
federal budget within 10 years.

It's never too late.
join us.
Al~e wama

American diplomacy goes on
the defensive around the globe

' 1
i s
^ .ur

Los Angeles Times
CAIRO, Egypt-The U.S. Embassy
in Cairo, the largest American diplo-
matic structure in the world, dominates
this dusty city's horizon. Two stone
towers cover a full block, dwarfing the
surrounding villas, university campus
and government offices.
They seem to symbolize American
But the embassy, secured far behind
an 8-foot-high concrete wall on streets
where parking is banned and heavily
armed police patrol, also proclaims
American vulnerability.
Like a host of new embassies or re-
cent additions from Bangladesh to
Botswana, the mission here is a virtual
fortress. Its perimeter is mob-resistant.
Walls are bomb-safe. Windows are
bulletproof. Roofs are designed to con-
ceal sharpshooters. U.S. Marines stand
guard behind bullet-resistant booths.
The Cairo embassy reflects how vis-
ibly America abroad is in retreat and
how diplomacy, once a glamorous job
that involved mostly political
schmoozing, cajoling and convincing, is
increasingly about the skills of survival.
In Pakistan, two U.S. diplomats were
killed and one wounded in March by
gunfire while traveling to work at the

U.S. Consulate General in Karachi in a
van that had been dispatched to provide
an added measure of safety. Round-
the-clock Pakistani guards were subse-
quently posted at the homes of all em-
bassy employees in Islamabad.
As recently as September, an armor-
piercing, rocket-propelled grenade, nor-
mally used against tanks, was fired from
a busy street at the U.S. Embassy in
central Moscow.
And in the Somali capital of
Mogadishu, security deteriorated so
sharply that the State Department closed
the U.S. Embassy there when U.S.
troops ended their mission in a U.N.
peacekeeping force this spring.
Over the last 16 years, U.S. embassies
and consulates have been attacked,
bombed, mobbed or seized more than
360 times. And409 American diplomatic
personnel have been killed, taken hostage
or injured - more than during the previ-
ous two centuries combined.
The threats now range from Muslim
suicide bombers in the Middle East to
drug lords and Maoist insurgents in Latin
The bombing Monday of the national
guard training headquarters in Riyadh,
Saudi Arabia, was not technically an
attack on a U.S. diplomatic mission, but

the American trainers working there with
their Saudi counterparts were Defense
Department employees and constituted
a major U.S. presence in the kingdom.
Even those charged with protecting
U.S. foreign missions have been tar-
geted. In Cairo, the embassy's senior
security officer was wounded when
Muslim extremists opened fire on him
en route to work eight years ago.
Before and since then, the American
mission in Egypt and its diplomatic
staff have faced "almost continuous
threats" on a par with the most danger-
ous U.S. posts in Lima; Peru; Bogota,
Colombia; and Beirut, Lebanon, ac-
cording to State Department officials.
Envoys at America's 163 embassies
and 84 consulates now face greater
peacetime restrictions on their move-
ments and contacts than at any time
since Benjamin Franklin opened the
first American legation in Paris in the
1770s, U.S. officials say.
The State Department's office of in-
telligence and threat analysis has pre-
pared a pamphlet called "Terrorist Tac-
tics and Practices." It includes a"Bomb
Threat Checklist," gives accounts of
recent embassy evacuations and pro-
vides a primer on surface-to-air mis-
siles used against civilian planes.
Yeltsin speaks to
Russians on TV
Los Angeles Times
MOSCOW-President Boris Yeltsin
looked remarkably healthier yesterday
in his secondtelevision appearance since
an Oct. 26 heart ailment sent him into
the hospital and sent the diplomatic
world into anew bout of Kremlin-watch-
Dressed in a dark suit and tie for the
nearly 10-minute interview, Yeltsin
sought to assure Russians that parlia-
mentary elections will go ahead as
planned next month and that he remains
firmly in charge.
"I am holding and controlling the
wheel of this large boat that is Russia
and I have my finger on the pulse," the


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