WASHINGTON — Senate Republican leader Bob Dole today accused Democrats of "playing games" with a measure to balance the budget, but House Speaker Thomas P. (Tip) O'Neill Jr. charged that the GOP-led Senate "stonewalled" efforts to pass the bill.
The two traded charges in the absence of action by a House-Senate conference panel on the balanced budget measure that is attached to crucial legislation to increase the debt ceiling. The conference failed to reach agreement Wednesday night and delayed a scheduled meeting until late today.
Without agreement by Friday on raising the federal borrowing authority, Treasury officials say they will have to sell assets in the Social Security trust fund in order to pay recipients, losing interest of up to $300 million a year.
"The House ought to act on Gramm-Rudman (the balanced budget measure) and stop playing games," Dole told reporters.
But O'Neill (D-Mass.) charged it was the GOP-led Senate that had "stonewalled it. They want to go into it issue by issue."