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Clinton Urges More Farm Aid; GOP Hits Spending

October 04, 1998| Times Wire Services

WASHINGTON — President Clinton wants congressional Republicans to adopt his $7.5-billion aid package for farmers, dismissing as inadequate a $4.2-billion emergency package they pushed through the House on Friday.

American farmers face their worst financial crisis in more than a decade, and Clinton pressed lawmakers in the GOP-controlled House to stay in session until they approve a bigger bailout.

The Republican plan includes $1.7 billion in direct payments to all farmers to compensate for this year's sharp drop in commodity prices. Additional funding would help producers who have lost crops to drought and disease.

In the GOP weekly radio address, Sen. Phil Gramm of Texas contended Clinton is going back on his word not to spend away the budget surplus in order to save Social Security and is "hiding" new spending plans from lawmakers. Clinton is pushing Congress to spend $20 billion of the $70-billion surplus on new programs, he said.

Gramm mentioned funding requested to fix the Year 2000 problem in government computers and help pay for the 2000 census and U.S. troops in Bosnia. Money that should have been earmarked for all three areas instead went to restore welfare and food stamps to illegal immigrants, Gramm said.

But Linda Ricci, a spokeswoman for the Office of Management and Budget, said the Clinton administration actually is requesting about $14 billion in emergency funding, none from the budget surplus.

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