NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


May 20, 1997

While both Republicans and Democrats are congratulating themselves for triumphing in the budget compromise reached by Congressional leaders and the White House, President Clinton has the greater reason to crow because he got more spending than he asked for, analysts say. They calculate that Clinton scored a major victory while Republicans made the most concessions.

  • Under the deal, total federal spending over the next five years will add up to $9 trillion -- nearly $200 billion more than Clinton asked for in his budget last year and $18 billion more than he sought in the budget proposal released earlier this year.
  • For domestic programs, Clinton asked in his last two budgets for a total of $1.4 trillion over the next five years -- which is what he got.
  • Republicans had wanted a total of only $1.27 trillion for discretionary domestic programs -- and acquiesced to $200 billion more
  • However, Republicans did get $30 billion more in Medicare cuts than Clinton wanted and they refused White House requests to protect spending levels for a variety of programs -- including the National Endowment for the Arts, the AmeriCorps program, the Goals 2000 education program and others.

As for tax cuts, Republicans have been more and more willing to accept less and less. From a 1995 demand for cuts worth more than $181 billion over five years, it agreed to net cuts of just $85 billion in those years.

For total federal spending in 2002, the budget deal comes in at $40 billion higher than the GOP wanted.

Both Houses of Congress must still pass the budget in its final form, and before the President sign can sign it into law.

Source: John Merline, "Why Budget is Clinton 'Triumph,'" Investor's Business Daily, May 20, 1997.


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