Utah representatives express frustrationwith po

    69

    By KAREN SNO

    The lengthy feud between congressional Republicans and President Clinton rages on as the embattled federal budget continues to plague the national agenda.

    Tensions between the White House and the GOP Congress are magnifying the budget reconciliation scramble.

    The political wrangling on Capitol Hill has had ill effects: many long-term politicians are announcing they will not return to office, Congress is at an impasse on the budget and public opinion polls are dropping.

    “In my view, the president is driven entirely by the desire for re-election,” said Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah.

    “Republicans have taken control of the political debate, and Clinton is in a reactive mode claiming we should stay as we are. Ideologically, the control of the agenda is in the hands of the Republicans,” Bennett said.

    Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, would not classify relations between Congress and the White House as contentious, but he and other congressional Republicans have been frustrated with Clinton’s negotiating strategy on the budget.

    “It appears to us that the President sets his budget priorities based on the latest polls, not on what is best for the country in the long term,” Hatch said.

    “It seems the White House would be content to put another Band-Aid on a federal budget hemorrhaging red ink,” he said.

    The 1994 election year shook government customs and set political relations on its ear. Fresh, eager Republicans regarded as outsiders to the political game took over the House, unseating well-established, tenured Representatives.

    Both Bennett and Hatch agreed that a large percentage of the House’s new membership is determined to change the way government is conducted without thought to re-election.

    Rep. Bill Orton, D-Utah, contradicted Republican favoritism saying he disagreed with Congress’ negotiation strategies on the budget reconciliation.

    “Congress is trying to blame the President when, in fact, it is their responsibility,” Orton said.

    When proposing an alternate budget proposal drawn by the Coalition, a group of conservative House Democrats, Orton said he disagreed with the political wrangling between parties.

    “What I and the Coalition and the Senate allies are saying to both parties is that it’s time to stop the partisan wrangling and maneuvering to gain some political advantage, and sit down together to solve the problem,” he said.

    Hatch said that “members of Congress and the President must look beyond the next election and look at what is going to happen a generation from now if we cannot get our budget balanced.”

    Print Friendly, PDF & Email