President Reagan, whose relations with Congress last year were marked by discord on budget and tax issues, is planning to start this year with a personal visit to House and Senate Republicans before submitting his fiscal 1987 budget, administration officials said yesterday.
The visit Jan. 31 is being planned as a way to avoid the kind of revolt in Republican ranks that almost killed Reagan's tax-revision plan last year.
The president is scheduled to meet with senators and to deliver a luncheon address to House Republicans, who will be holding a daylong conference, officials said.
Reagan's visit will follow the Jan. 28 State of the Union message, in which he is expected to demand that Congress not raise taxes or slow his defense buildup this year.
Meanwhile, administration officials said yesterday Reagan has rejected the option of proposing an alternate budget plan that might avoid the $11.7 billion in automatic across-the-board spending cuts due to take effect March 1 under the new Gramm-Rudman-Hollings law.
Under the law, both Reagan and Congress can avoid the so-called "sequestration," or automatic cuts, by proposing -- and then agreeing to -- alternate plans to achieve the deficit savings. In recent days, the White House studied such an optional plan to head off the $11.7 billion automatic cut, which includes more than $5 billion in defense spending reductions.
But officials said they decided not to offer an alternative plan because they feared that Congress would respond by trying to cut deeper into defense than has been envisioned in the automatic cuts.
"There are a lot of down sides," said a White House official.
One option would be to press Congress for passage of the reconciliation bill, implementing about $7 billion in budget savings for this year that was not passed in December. Officials said that these cuts could be applied toward the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings goal, but it was not certain how much more the deficit would have to be reduced to meet the requirements in the law.
Congress still has the option of proposing its own alternative, however.
The Office of Management and Budget and the Congressional Budget Office are to report today on how the $11.7 billion in automatic cuts will be spread through the government.
Also yesterday, Sen. Alan Cranston (D-Calif.) called for a new minimum corporate income tax, saying that without it the automatic spending cuts would threaten public safety.
"There would be cuts in air controllers and air safety inspectors at a time when it is clear that it isn't that safe to be flying," Cranston told reporters before a meeting with Orange County, Calif., officials to discuss the new law.
He also warned the law will trigger cuts in meat inspection, the Coast Guard and the number of border patrol agents employed by the Immigration and Naturalization Service.