WASHINGTON — White House and congressional negotiators responded favorably today to a new Republican budget offer to reduce the U.S. budget deficit by $75.5 billion over two years through new taxes and spending cuts.
House Minority Leader Bob Michel (R-Ill.), who had a meeting with President Reagan and other Republican negotiators earlier in the day, presented the package as the 10th negotiating session got under way in the Capitol.
Participants said they generally liked the plan--which consisted of dollar amounts and broad general categories--as a good starting point for further talks. The plan did not specify which programs would be cut or which taxes raised.
"We haven't seen the details but the broad numbers are a good starting point," Sen. Bennett Johnston (D-La.) said.
'A Step Forward'
He said the higher taxes in the plan are probably too small. "We're a long way from agreement . . . but it's a step forward in the right direction."
Michel told reporters at a lunch break that the White House supported the plan "in a general way (but) as I said, I know over at the Pentagon they ain't very happy."
Sen. Bob Packwood (R-Ore.) said during the White House meeting that Reagan did not like the taxes in the plan.
Overall, in the key 1988 government year now under way, the plan would raise $14.4 billion in new revenues through $8 billion in higher taxes, $1.4 billion in user fees and $5 billion in sales of government assets.
Defense would be cut $4.9 billion, foreign aid $300 million, and domestic discretionary and entitlement programs by $9.2 billion. Another $1.2 billion would come from lower interest payments on the debt.
The plan does not specifically mention the possibility of cuts in Social Security.
Asked if the President was urged at the White House meeting to consider Social Security cuts, Packwood responded, "As part of an acceptable package."
But Michel said he did not envision Social Security reductions as part of the proposal.
'I'm Out of There'
Rep. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) agreed that Social Security cuts were not specifically ruled out by the proposal. But if there is an attempt to include them, he said, "I'm out of there."
When he agreed to the talks, Reagan specifically ruled out Social Security from the bargaining.
The bargaining is aimed at avoiding $23 billion in across-the-board spending reductions that otherwise will automatically occur Nov. 20 under the Gramm-Rudman deficit-reduction law. Those slashes will be evenly divided between defense and domestic spending.
The negotiations began a week after Wall Street's Black Monday. That day the Dow Jones industrial average dropped 508 points, a record plunge that analysts have blamed, in part, on the government's enormous deficits.