He suggested that the Administration would try to persuade the CBO to revise the figures further. The temporary spending legislation to which both sides agreed last month provided for consultations between the Office of Management and Budget and the CBO, he noted. OMB has previously predicted more economic growth than the CBO, leading to greater savings.
"It's required, and we expect that once they've done this calculation they'll come forward and consult formally," he said.
The forecast was issued against the backdrop of a possible partial shutdown of the federal government. Spending authority for several agencies expires on Friday at midnight and House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) has said that he will not advance legislation to restore temporary funding unless there are serious negotiations with the White House on the broader issue of balancing the budget.
Administration officials were cool to suggestions that Clinton should agree to the top-level meeting that the GOP leadership proposed on Sunday to move the process forward. McCurry said the White House would review the new CBO numbers, then decide whether such a top-level meeting was warranted.
"It's obvious from comments of Republican leaders that they intend to manufacture another crisis," said Rep. David R. Obey (D-Wis.).
Times staff writer Janet Hook contributed to this story.