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Public Ready for Spending Cuts, Dannemeyer Asserts

January 04, 1986|LANIE JONES | Times Political Writer

Even if some people lose their jobs, the American public is ready to accept major cuts in government spending prompted by the Gramm-Rudman proposal to reduce the federal deficit, Rep. William E. Dannemeyer (R-Fullerton) said Friday.

Dannemeyer, one of six Republican candidates for Alan Cranston's U. S. Senate seat, called a press conference in Santa Ana to challenge Cranston's claim one day earlier that the Gramm-Rudman bill could not be implemented without "a mindless, thoughtless, across-the-board cut in every program without regard to priorities."

The bill, which President Reagan signed in December, requires automatic spending cuts each year if Congress and the President are unable to eliminate a portion of the $180-billion deficit. The bill also calls for a balanced budget by 1991.

Dannemeyer said that making those cutbacks will take courage on the part of Congress and the American public. But people are ready to accept significant cuts in government service--even if it costs them their jobs, Dannemeyer said.

"People will accept this discipline if they sense in it fairness," he said. "In congressional forums, in town hall meetings, people have told me time and again, 'Congressman, I'm willing to do my share.' "

Dannemeyer offered his own list of $62.2 billion in "responsible" spending cuts or spending freezes for fiscal year 1986 through fiscal year 1988.

The eight-page list--which Dannemeyer's colleagues in Congress declined to enact when he first showed it to them last March--includes cuts in child nutrition programs, highway construction, defense spending and veterans' health care.

Asked to explain the rationale behind, for instance, a freeze in National Science Foundation funding for the next four years, Dannemeyer laughed.

"Well, why not?" he said. "You're going to have to cut someplace."

Along with proposing cuts, Dannemeyer also advocated a return to the gold standard. A gold-backed currency would cut interest payments on the national debt from 8% now to 2 1/2%, he asserted.

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