Budget Watch

A newsletter covering budget reform and the latest news and views on the federal budget, published by The National Center for Public Policy Research, 501 Capitol Court, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20002 (202) 543-4110, Fax (202) 543-5975, and the Small Business Survival Foundation, 1320 18th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20036 (202) 785-0238, Fax (202) 822-8118. E-mail [email protected]

Issue # 23 - January 16, 1996 * David A. Ridenour and Karen Kerrigan, Editors

Hill Watch: Update on Budgetary Issues on Capitol Hill

President Mostly to Blame for Budget Impasse According to New Survey
Recent Surveys Signal Tide Turning in Favor of GOP

A survey conducted last week by America Online (AOL), the nation's largest provider of on line computer services, found that most AOL users blame President Clinton for the budget impasse. The full text of the question posed to AOL members was, "Who do you blame for the federal government shutdown and the budget impasse, the President, Congress or both?" Of the 35,147 responses received, 47.23% blamed the President, 36.47% blamed Congress, and 16.3% blamed both. While the AOL survey was not scientific, it gives some sense of on line user opinion. Another recent survey -- conducted by GrassRoots Research -- found that most Americans favor spending cuts over spending increases, regardless of their impact on the deficit. According to the survey, 66% of those surveyed said they would prefer a budget with continued deficits that lowered spending while only 24% would prefer a balanced budget that increased federal spending. GrassRoots Research also found that respondents favored the Republican budget plan over the President's plan, 52% to 37%, once they learned the spending levels called for under each plan. Only 33% of those surveyed were initially aware that federal spending would rise under the President's program.

Congressional Intransigence? Where?

In Budget Give and Take, Congress Gives $9.3 Billion for Every Billion it Takes

Despite its portrayal in the media as unyielding and uncompromising, Congress has made more than its share of comprises during the on going budget negotiations. In fact, Congress has "out-compromised" the White House by a factor of 9.3 to 1. For example, the GOP added another $62 billion in Medicare expenditures to its seven-year budget plan while President Clinton subtracted just $5 billion from his plan. Congress has also moved closer to the President on Medicaid, offering an additional $65 billion in spending for the program over seven years, while the President edged closer to the GOP proposal by only $15 billion. On some programs, GOP compromise has been met with no compromise whatsoever from the White House. Congressional Republicans added $26 billion to welfare spending and $12 billion to the Earned Income Credit only to receive nothing in return from the White House. Worse yet, after Republicans sliced $177 billion off of their tax cut proposal, the Clinton Administration moved further away from the GOP position, cutting $64 billion off its tax cut plan. No wonder so many grassroots supporters of the GOP budget plan believe the GOP has "caved-in." But that's not the message of the establishment press. Note to the GOP -- If you think you can win the battle for public opinion through compromise, think again.

Spectrum Auctions Up For Consideration Again: Dole Decries Giveaway
to Broadcast Industry

One of the biggest "corporate" welfare programs in government history is being scrutinized again -- much to the dismay of the nation's television broadcasters. Senator Robert Dole (R-KS) is advocating the sale of the digital spectrum rather than simply giving it away to the broadcasters as slated in current telecommunications legislation. Auctioning off the spectrum could raise $40-$70 billion that could be used to help balance the budget. The powerful broadcast lobby is worried that its multi-billion dollar welfare program is increasingly in jeopardy as the pressures of the budget battle build. In a recent interview with The Washington Post, one broadcast lobbyist hinted that broadcasters are willing to use their airwave muscle to silence Dole, saying, "If I were a candidate for president, I surely would not want to... alienate broadcasters at this stage of my campaign." The broadcast lobby is planning a major grassroots campaign against new auction threats. Stay tuned. For more information, call the Small Business Survival Committee at (202)785-0238.

Small Business Survival Foundation
1320 18th Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036
(202)785-0238
Fax: (202)822-8118

The National Center for Public Policy Research
501 Capitol Ct NE
Washington, D.C. 20002
(202) 543-4110
Fax: (202)543-5975
E-mail [email protected]

Nothing written here should be construed as an attempt to help or hinder legislation before the U.S. Congress.

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