Sen. Edmund S. Muskie (D-Maine) said yesterday that he would work against adoption of any congressional resolution reaffirming Taiwan's security "because I don't see the need for it."
Interviewed on "Face the Nation" (CBS, WDVM), Muskie said "the Chinese are fully aware of" everything in the resolution proposed by Democratic Sens. Edward M. Kennedy (Mass.) and Alan Cranston (Calif.) "because it has been said to them by members of the Senate, by members of Congress and by the president."
"There is no doubt that the Chinese are well aware," Muskie continued, "that if they were to threaten Taiwan with force or to seek in any way to undermine Taiwan's well-being that that would trigger a negative American reaction which would cost them probably all of the benefits that they hope to achieve by normalization."
Muskie, who led a senatorial delegation to China last fall, declared, "I think that the Congress tends to... let me use the word 'knee-jerk' sometimes in response to foreign policy problems. I think that we should look at the whole situation carefully... before we conclude anything like a resolution is needed."
The chairman of the Senate Budget Committee also said he expects Congress to reduce President Carter's proposed 1980 defense budget and use the savings for social programs.
"I'd say there may be $4 billion to $5 billion that you can shift around in the budget, one way or another, to meet a different set of congressional priorities," Muskie estimated.
The president's proposed defense increase of 3 percent in addition to enough to cover expectedinflation "is an illusive figure," Muskie said. "I've had four different calculations made based upon different assumptions as to inflation and as to the base from which you start.
"I could come up with a $2 billion smaller figure in outlays than the president and still argue that I was meeting the 3 percent commitment," he said, implying that this is what he has in mind when his committee begins work on the year's first budget resolution.
In addition to that $2 billion, Muskie expects Congress to feed social programs with the $2.5 billion allocated by Carter as the cost of his real wage insurance tax credit. "There is no hostility" to the proposal, he explained, "but there is great skepticism about it. A lot of members of Congress are going to look at that $2.5 billion as something that can be spent more usefully and more compassionately somewhere else."
The House Ways and Means Committee begins hearings today on the wage insurance proposal.
Muskie said some of the president's suggested cuts in some Social Security programs, such as the $255 lump-sum death benefit, "haven't got a chance... Something like that to deprive widows, that isn't going to fly."
Muskie is skeptical that the administration's economic forecast of no recession will hold up. If it does, however, he believes Congress will adopt a budget with a deficit close to the $29 billion Carter target.
Even if the nation escapes a recession this year or next, Muskie does not think Carter can meet his other goal of balancing the federal budget in fiscal 1981. "'81, I think, is wishful thinking," he said.