Clinton Faults Congress Over Spending Impasse

Clinton Faults Congress Over Spending Impasse
Posted by FoM on June 06, 2000 at 23:01:48 PT
By Eric Pianin &Juliet Eilperin - Washington Post 
Source: Washington Post
President Clinton charged yesterday that Congress is undermining efforts to cut the supply line of cocaine from Colombia to the United States by holding up passage of emergency funds, as the White House and GOP lawmakers resumed their bitter fight over spending. As Congress returned to work after an 11-day recess, the biting rhetoric was the latest sign of the developing impasse over the budget: 
A major package of aid for Colombia and funding for troops in Kosovo is already hung up, and lawmakers warned of delays for other must-pass spending bills for the coming year."Delays in this funding come at a time when cocaine production is increasing in Colombia, where more than 80 percent of the cocaine on the United States' streets comes from," Clinton said after his return from a Moscow summit. "I think most of us have seen that democracy itself is under great stress throughout the Andean region, in no small measure because of the power of the drug traffickers."GOP leaders, sensitive to suggestions they are frustrating the war on drugs, insisted that they are doing everything they can to shake loose the emergency funding. Still, the exchange showed that despite Republican hopes of an orderly budget year, deliberations are veering off track  with battles over emergency spending, Cuba policy, education and the environment threatening to keep lawmakers pinned down up to the November elections.This is potentially bad news for the GOP, which polls show is often most popular when Congress is out of session. Lott has largely blamed the delays on Democratic "obstructionist" tactics. Yet much of the problem stems from disputes between House and Senate Republican leaders over policy and strategy.The package of emergency spending for Colombian drug interdiction, troop deployment in Kosovo and Hurricane Floyd relief has been held up for months because of a simmering procedural dispute between Lott and House leaders. An agriculture spending bill has become bogged down in the House in a feud between Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) and rank-and-file Republicans over whether to lift economic sanctions on Cuba. And a House-passed measure providing tax relief to married couples has languished in the Senate for months.DeLay, who once predicted that Congress would swiftly approve fiscal 2001 spending bills well in advance of the fall campaign, said yesterday he is beginning to doubt that lawmakers will finish their work this summer. If that's the case, then Republicans may be looking at one last round of year-end negotiations with Clinton that would give the lame-duck White House maximum leverage."I'm losing some of my confidence, frankly, because we're having a hard time with our own members on these bills," DeLay said in an interview. "Every day that goes by when we're not doing these appropriations bills means we're pushing into October."Glen Bolger, a GOP pollster, said many Republicans keenly remember how they stayed in town until very close to the 1986 elections to negotiate over the budget and lost their majority in the Senate. "What's important is members get home to campaign," Bolger said.Toward that end, Republican leaders are bracing for what is likely to be a bruising and exhausting mission to advance the 13 annual spending bills and pass the few other pieces of legislation, such as a bill overhauling the bankruptcy law, that have sufficient bipartisan support.House GOP leaders said they will employ the same strategy they used last year, which relied on passing spending bills on a strict party-line vote and assuming they would have to work out their differences with the Democrats in the end. Given Democratic intransigence, they said they have no other choice.However, Democrats complained that Republicans are ensuring a protracted battle in the fall by pressing for reductions in some key domestic programs. Already, Republican leaders are struggling to pass the legislative branch appropriations bill  normally a snap  because of what many lawmakers deem as inadequate funding for the Capitol Police.Meanwhile, Clinton is threatening to veto the huge labor, health and human services and education spending bill, which is headed for a vote this week on the House floor. The measure provides $1 billion less than the president's request for teacher training and hiring and cuts $600 million from Head Start."We are going down the same road we've gone in past years, which is unfortunate because it's a very chaotic policymaking environment," said Scott Lilly, the Democratic staff director on the House Appropriations Committee.Clearly, the differences over the emergency spending package pose the thorniest problem for the Republicans for now. Yesterday, the Republican chairmen of the House Appropriations and National Security committees wrote Lott expressing "deep concern" that his opposition to a free-standing emergency spending bill might damage military readiness and troop morale.Lott said he favors the spending for Kosovo and Colombia but believes the version approved by the House earlier this year is too costly, and that the necessary funds can be included in the military, foreign aid and agriculture spending bills. He said he is looking for an "earlier vehicle" that could move the money for Colombia.Lott cautioned Clinton that he risks losing important GOP support for the package "if he gets too critical," while another senior leader complained that Clinton's rhetoric is not helpful. "He can go blow his wind out all he wants, as far as I'm concerned," Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) told reporters.Stevens and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) suggested yesterday that the Senate might have to put off final action on legislation granting China permanent normal trade relations. But GOP leaders have indicated that the legislation would likely be passed before the July 4 recess.By Eric Pianin and Juliet EilperinWashington Post Staff WritersWednesday, June 7, 2000; Page A05 2000 The Washington Post Company Related Articles:Anti-Drug Effort Stalls in Colombia Anti-Drug Spraying Begins War and Colombia Deny and Escalate Rank for Human Rights
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Comment #4 posted by STAN DUP on June 07, 2000 at 11:39:54 PT
The measure provides $1 billion less than the president's request for teacher training and hiring and cuts $600 million from Head Start. ....SAD AS HELL!!!
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Comment #3 posted by Mari on June 07, 2000 at 11:39:05 PT
Isn't it odd that gas prices are skyrocketing just about the time this comes up.Couldn't have anything to do with the oil from Columbia that the US wants could it???
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Comment #2 posted by dddd on June 07, 2000 at 04:08:33 PT
advanced propaganda
The Washington Post is one of the finest sources for this type of government generated propaganda. If you read it again,you will notice how it basically presupposes that the bill will be passed.It speaks of opposition to the way it's packaged,,,but when you finish reading the article,you are left with a sooner, or later,,instead of a "will or wont".It's a classic piece of public manipulation. This nasty,devious outrage,is a done deal.It WILL pass.It will be done as quietly as possible,and will probably be reported as a much scaled down version.(1.2 Billion,,,a savings to the taxpayer of $100 Million.) Then as soon as it's passed,they'll start diviying up the 1200 million like a crack whore who just won the lottery. The innocent sounding bankruptcy reform bill,is hoppin' with devious attachments such as the new no warrant /non reported search thing. Then we have the ghastly meth bill,,and now the ecstacy bill,which has the same BIZARRE drug info provision. So here's their plan;...It will come down to the wire,and at the very last moment,before they go home for the holiday,,all this stuff will suddenly pass in one form or another.This article is designed to condition the public.You will see many more articles like it in the weeks to come. Our government is beyond the point of being out of control.It is now controlled by something that is definitly not "We the People"..........dddd
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Comment #1 posted by Dan Hillman on June 06, 2000 at 23:31:48 PT
Liberal peacenik recommends endless war
For those of us who expected this bill to sail through both houses like any other drugwar-police-military boondoggle, this "impasses" is welcome news. Guess maybe American aversion to jungle civil warfare on other continents hasn't gone away completely...what a hoot to watch Bill C. hawk this war ...but wait, he's a "liberal peacenik"...snort!
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