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President Asks Congress to Revise Budget Process With His Proposals

November 09, 1986|DON IRWIN | Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — President Reagan on Saturday called on the new Democratic-controlled 100th Congress to revise legislative budget-making procedures and promised to submit reform proposals to assist the process.

The President asked for action on the reforms by the same kind of bipartisan coalition that enacted tax revision in the last Congress.

"The way the budgets are put together is a disgrace--simply unworthy of the legislature of the greatest democracy in the world," Reagan said in his weekly radio talk, delivered from the presidential retreat at Camp David, Md.

Cites Congress' Inaction

He said that the 99th Congress adjourned last month without enacting one of the 13 individual appropriations bills for fiscal 1987 that had been pending since February. Instead, as its final session ended, Congress passed catchall legislation providing $576 billion for all governmental functions in the year that began Oct. 1.

"That's why we must start now while the memory of this year's budget fiasco is still fresh in our minds to reform the budget process," Reagan said. He suggested that "a good place to begin" would be with two measures he proposed unsuccessfully to the 99th Congress.

One is a proposed amendment to the Constitution that would require that the federal budget be balanced. The proposal was defeated by only one vote in the Republican-controlled Senate early this year and fell further short in the Democratic-dominated House.

Backs Line-Item Veto

The other is the line-item veto, which would give the President authority, similar to that enjoyed by 43 governors, to veto individual items in revenue bills. Neither proposal appears to enjoy any better chance of passage in the Democratic 100th Congress than in the 99th.

Saying that there is a number of solutions to budget reform, Reagan said that he would "outline other recommendations at a later date," presumably after he receives a report from a White House task force that is reviewing proposals for possible inclusion in Reagan's 1987 State of the Union message to Congress.

House Speaker Thomas P. (Tip) O'Neill Jr. (D-Mass.), in the Democratic response to Reagan, said that last week's elections showed that "the American people want Congress and the President to work together in meeting" challenges facing the nation.

"One thing is sure: We have problems in this country," said O'Neill, who is retiring after 34 years in the House and 10 years as Speaker.

Parties Joined Forces

When President Reagan went to Iceland last month to meet with Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev, "there was only one American speaking for this country--the President of the United States," O'Neill said. Similarly, he said, the two parties joined forces in writing the tax overhaul bill and other legislation dealing with drug control, immigration and toxic waste.

"Instead of playing the blame game, we went to work and got the job done," O'Neill said. "The 99th Congress will be remembered as a do-something Congress because we worked together, because we responded to the important challenges with sound legislative action."

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