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GOP Budget Threatens Environment, Clinton Charges

November 05, 1995| From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Dirty water, toxic air and soiled beaches are the price Americans will pay for the Republicans' balanced budget, President Clinton charged Saturday as he repeated threats to veto the GOP budget bill.

"This budget will mean dirtier water, more smog, more illness and a diminished quality of life," Clinton said. "Protecting our environment . . . can't be sacrificed to balance the budget."

GOP cuts in spending for environmental enforcement are the latest in a long list of reasons Clinton has given for promising to veto the budget bill, now being fine-tuned by a committee of House and Senate negotiators.

The President has also attacked the measure's $245-billion tax cut, which he charges favors the wealthy. Provisions slashing anticipated Medicare spending by $270 billion and cutting education and other social programs have also fueled Clinton's veto threats.

"Under the cover of balancing the budget, the Republican Congress is going after the essential environmental protections that have guaranteed the health and safety of all Americans for a long time now, and I am determined to stop them," Clinton said in his weekly radio address.

"The pollution lobby knows it could never repeal half our environmental protections, so the Republican budget cuts the resources for environmental enforcement in half. Quite simply, it just pulls the cop from the environmental beat," Clinton said.

Responding for Republicans, Sen. Pete V. Domenici of New Mexico and Rep. John R. Kasich of Ohio defended each house's budget bill as essential to America's economic prosperity and criticized Clinton for not offering an alternative.

"He's had the opportunity to show leadership, but instead he's taken a pass," said Kasich, chairman of the House Budget Committee and an architect of the House bill. "We're making the changes people all across the country have called for over the years, but Washington has failed to deliver."

Clinton charged that Congress' GOP leaders were also seeking loopholes that would gut the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act.

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