Budget Chief: GOP 'Not Helpful'

A House Republican proposal to consider a resolution to demand that President Clinton send the GOP a new budget would "not be helpful" in reaching a budget deal with the administration, OMB Director Raines said today.

"I believe that anything that actually diverts attention from actually doing a budget is not helpful," Raines told reporters, after speaking to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

House Budget Chairman Kasich said the House might consider such a resolution next week and House Speaker Gingrich told Democratic leaders he would negotiate a budget deal with them after Clinton sends Congress a budget that balances using CBO economic assumptions.

Raines said any preconditions placed on budget negotiations also are "not helpful." He called GOP comments on the Clinton budget a "distraction," saying "the notion that the president's budget needs fine-tuning or tinkering is wrong."

Raines has spent most of the week asking Republicans to submit their own budget plan now and begin negotiations. He told the NCSL that such talks will require bipartisan work which Congress is no longer acquainted with. "In this town, bipartisanship is like trying to teach someone who has had a stroke how to walk again," he said.

Raines also made it clear the administration will not be rushed to make a decision on how to handle changes in the consumer price index. He said the administration is trying to develop consensus "that will gain broad support," adding that "there is no reason to rush."

He said the CPI decision should not be driven by budget decisions and said he does not believe the FY98 budget process should stop until a CPI decision is made. He also reiterated that the FY97 budget deficit may fall below the projection of $107 billion, noting that would prove OMB projections are conservative and the "doom and gloom people" are wrong.

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