President Reagan yesterday showed little inclination to compromise with Congress on taxes and defense spending in order to reach a budget accord, despite appeals from Republican leaders.
At his news conference, Reagan urged Congress "to forget about raising taxes" and criticized moves to reduce his defense proposal. He said he would "keep on pushing" his original budget proposal.
Reagan is "very adamant" in his opposition to compromising, House Minority Whip Trent Lott (R-Miss.) said earlier yesterday, after a meeting between the president and Republican congressional leaders.
"It was clear he didn't have any inclination to do it [negotiate] at this time," said Lott, referring to appeals from Senate Majority Leader Robert J. Dole (R-Kan.) for the White House to become involved in negotiating a budget compromise.
Dole warned Monday that Congress will "go it alone" on the budget and may stall action on Reagan's tax-overhaul program unless the White House helps gain approval of a budget.
In what could a step toward development of a congressional budget, Dole and House Minority Leader Robert H. Michel (R-Ill.) agreed yesterday to approach House Democratic leadership about simultaneous House-Senate development of a budget.
Lott and Dole indicated after the White House meeting that Reagan appears confident that deficits will decline sufficiently on their own to avoid triggering automatic spending cutbacks under the new Gramm-Rudman-Hollings budget law. The fiscal 1987 deficit, now estimated at about $180 billion, would have to fall to within $10 billion of the $144 billion deficit target for that year to avoid the automatic cutbacks.
After a series of meetings with Senate colleagues, including one "discussion" session attended by Office of Management and Budget Director James C. Miller III, Dole indicated that he will attempt to bring the budget to the Senate floor, possibly as soon as next week.