News

DATE=1/21/99 TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT NUMBER=5-42412 TITLE=CLINTON / CONGRESS / DEFENSE SPENDING BYLINE=PAULA WOLFSON DATELINE=CAPITOL HILL CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: REPUBLICANS IN THE U-S CONGRESS FOUND LITTLE TO LIKE IN PRESIDENT CLINTON'S STATE OF THE UNION MESSAGE THIS WEEK (TUESDAY). BUT THERE WAS ONE SPENDING PROPOSAL THAT QUICKLY WON THEIR APPROVAL -- MR. CLINTON'S CALL TO INCREASE DEFENSE SPENDING BY ABOUT 110-BILLION DOLLARS OVER THE NEXT SIX YEARS. V-O-A'S PAULA WOLFSON REPORTS THIS IS ONE AREA WHERE THE BIGGEST OPPOSITION FACED BY THE PRESIDENT IS WITHIN HIS OWN PARTY. TEXT: WORD OF THE PROPOSED DEFENSE INCREASE STARTED TO CIRCULATE IN WASHINGTON WEEKS BEFORE THE STATE-OF-THE-UNION ADDRESS. MILITARY COMMANDERS PRESSED FOR THE BOOST IN PENTAGON SPENDING. SO DID CONGRESSIONAL REPUBLICANS. MR CLINTON FINALLY AGREED. /// CLINTON ACT /// MY BALANCED BUDGET CALLS FOR A SUSTAINED INCREASE OVER THE NEXT SIX YEARS FOR READINESS AND MODERNIZATION, AND PAY AND BENEFITS FOR OUR TROOPS AND THEIR FAMILIES. /// END ACT /// HIS BRIEF REFERENCE TO THE BOOST IN DEFENSE SPENDING BROUGHT APPLAUSE FROM REPUBLICANS, AND A MENTION IN THE OFFICIAL REPUBLICAN RESPONSE TO THE STATE-OF-THE-UNION ADDRESS. OKLAHOMA CONGRESSMAN STEVE LARGENT WELCOMED THE NEWS, AND ASKED MR. CLINTON TO DO MORE. /// LARGENT ACT /// MR. PRESIDENT, WE URGE YOU TO JOIN CONGRESS IN ESTABLISHING A VIABLE MISSILE DEFENSE SYSTEM TO PROTECT THE UNITED STATES. /// END ACT // A DAY AFTER THE STATE OF THE UNION, THE ADMINISTRATION PLEDGED TO SET ASIDE SIX-POINT-SIX-BILLION DOLLARS TO BUILD A LIMITED MISSILE DEFENSE SYSTEM [BASED ON GROUND RADAR AND INTERCEPTORS]. REPUBLICANS WERE PLEASED. LIBERAL DEMOCRATS WERE AGHAST. /// CONYERS ACT /// HERE WE GO AGAIN ON "STAR WARS." THIS HAS BEEN THE JOKE PROGRAM OF THE GENERATION. /// END ACT /// MICHIGAN CONGRESSMAN JOHN CONYERS HAS OPPOSED THE NOTION OF A MISSILE DEFENSE FOR YEARS -- EVER SINCE THE NOTION OF A SPACE-BASED SYSTEM WAS PUT FORWARD IN THE 1980'S BY FORMER PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN. BUT HIS IRE IS NOT RESERVED FOR THE SO-CALLED "STAR WARS" SYSTEM. AND HE IS NOT ALONE. MASSACHUSETTS DEMOCRAT BARNEY FRANK SAYS LIBERALS IN CONGRESS WILL FIGHT ALL EFFORTS TO INCREASE THE DEFENSE BUDGET. HE SAYS THE PENTAGON IS WASTING MONEY ON UN-NECESSARY WEAPONS SYSTEMS -- MONEY THAT COULD BE USED TO IMPROVE LIVING STANDARDS AND TRAINING FOR U-S TROOPS. /// FIRST FRANK ACT /// WHY DO WE NEED THE NUMBER OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS THAT WE HAVE? THERE IS NO RATIONAL JUSTIFICATION FOR THE MASSIVE AMOUNT OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS THAT WE HAVE, GIVEN WHAT'S GONE ON IN THE REST OF THE WORLD. /// END ACT /// LIBERAL DEMOCRATS HAVE LONG CAMPAIGNED FOR MORE MONEY FOR EDUCATION, HEALTH CARE AND THE ENVIRONMENT. THE CURRENT BUDGET AGREEMENT BETWEEN CONGRESS AND THE WHITE HOUSE SETS CAPS ON OVER-ALL SPENDING. AND MR. FRANK STRESSES IF DEFENSE GOES UP, MONEY FOR OTHER PROGRAMS WILL GO DOWN. /// SECOND FRANK ACT /// IF YOU INCREASE MILITARY SPENDING LIKE THE PRESIDENT SAYS, YOU MAKE IT MUCH HARDER TO MEET IMPORTANT DOMESTIC NEEDS. /// END ACT /// MR. FRANK PROMISES A SPIRITED CHALLENGE TO THE INCREASE IN BOTH THE HOUSE AND SENATE. BUT WITH REPUBLICANS IN THE MAJORITY, THE BOOST IN THE DEFENSE BUDGET SHOULD WIN EASY APPROVAL. ALL THE SAME, THERE IS A DANGER FOR THE PRESIDENT AND HIS PARTY. THE MILITARY-SPENDING ISSUE IS LIKELY TO SPLIT DEMOCRATS. AND IT COULD CREATE TENSIONS BETWEEN THE WHITE HOUSE AND LIBERAL LAWMAKERS, WHO HAVE BEEN BILL CLINTON'S BIGGEST SUPPORTERS DURING THE IMPEACHMENT PROCESS IN THE HOUSE AND THE SUBSEQUENT SENATE TRIAL. LIBERALS HAVE LONG BEEN THE CORE OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY BASE. BUT PARTY LEADERS KNOW IF THEY WANT TO TAKE BACK CONTROL OF CONGRESS, THEY MUST TO APPEAL TO VOTERS WHO ARE UNCOMFORTABLE WITH POLITICAL EXTREMES (ON THE LEFT OR THE RIGHT). BY ANNOUNCING HIS PLAN FOR A BIG INCREASE IN DEFENSE SPENDING, BILL CLINTON DEMONSTRATED HIS BELIEF IN A MORE CENTRIST POLICY, AND SUBTLY ENCOURAGED HIS PARTY TO DO THE SAME. (SIGNED) NEB/PW/WDC/WTW 21-Jan-99 6:45 PM EST (2345 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .