Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Panels Break Logjam on Balanced-Budget Agreement

May 16, 1997|JANET HOOK | TIMES STAFF WRITER

WASHINGTON — Ending two weeks of haggling over the details of the landmark budget agreement between President Clinton and GOP congressional leaders, budget-writing committees in the House and Senate are now poised to take the first formal steps toward turning the five-year plan into law.

The House Budget Committee is scheduled to meet today to begin drafting a budget resolution that translates the handshake agreement, which anticipates a balanced budget by the year 2002, into concrete spending and revenue targets. The Senate Budget Committee is expected to follow suit Monday.

"We have an agreement," Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) said Thursday night, after congressional leaders and White House negotiators spent the day putting the deal on paper. "It's over."

Although Clinton and GOP leaders announced their budget agreement two weeks ago, legislative action on the deal has been stalled by continuing disputes between the two sides over what exactly they had agreed to.

That logjam was broken Thursday, Lott said, when GOP leaders acceded to administration demands that the legislation implementing the budget be drafted as two measures--one for tax cuts and the other for spending. Democrats sought that approach to make it easier for Clinton to veto the tax bill if it diverges too far from the agreement. But, Lott said, the GOP did not give Clinton the guarantees he sought for funding for certain administration priorities, such as the AmeriCorps volunteer service program and the National Endowment for the Arts.

When the budget committees meet, they will consider resolutions that embody the broad outlines of the agreement, such as $115 billion in savings from Medicare and net tax cuts of $85 billion.

Although Republicans often have said that it is important for the plan to send the deficit downward each year, resolutions prepared for consideration by the Senate and House committees project that the deficit would rise from $67 billion this year to $90.2 billion in 1998, then drop to $89 billion in 1999, $82 billion in 2000 and $52 billion in 2001.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|