President Clinton derided the Republican-controlled Congress's budget plan as a "blueprint for chaos" that would slash spending in critical areas including education, law enforcement and the environment.
Attacking Congress yesterday while lawmakers are on vacation, Clinton blasted the Republicans for drawing up broad budget plans that would force sharp cuts to stay within spending "caps" laid out in the 1997 balanced-budget agreement.
The White House wants to boost spending in fiscal 2000, which starts on Oct. 1, in a host of areas, notably education, defense and the environment, but aims to stay within the budget caps in part by raising cigarette taxes and other fees.
"Unfortunately, the Republican majority in Congress is moving ahead with a budget plan that in the end may do none of these things," Clinton told reporters. "It fails to extend the solvency of Social Security and Medicare. It requires deep cuts . . . [and] is simply not realistic. It is a blueprint for chaos, and we can do better."
Speaking to reporters in the Rose Garden, Clinton argued that such budget cuts were so unrealistic that Congress has been unable to pass any of the 13 annual spending bills needed to fund the government.
Congress is struggling to write these appropriations bills to fit under a $538 billion limit that requires cutting spending more than $20 billion from last year's levels.