SOPHOMORES ON THE BUDGET
JULY 30, 1997
After a this background report by Margaret Warner, a regular NewsHour panel of five members of Congress, all elected during the Republican takeover in 1994, discusses the balanced budget deal.
JIM LEHRER: Margaret Warner has the budget story and the sophomores.
REP. LLOYD DOGGETT, (D) Texas: We have seen the bill. This is it. And if you've got a photographic memory, perhaps you can see it right now.
MARGARET WARNER: There were some very vocal House Democrats who oppose the new balanced agreement, but not enough of them to defeat the plan. So the best they could do this morning was to try to delay its passage.
REP. PATRICK KENNEDY, (D) Rhode Island: I say to my colleagues today they do not know what's in this agreement. They do not know how this is going to gut Medicare. They do not know if this is going to destroy veterans.
MARGARET WARNER: The budget agreement had been rushed to the House floor in a matter of hours before printed copies were available, testing for the first time Congress's ability to function in cyberspace.
REP. JOHN LINDER, (R) Georgia: Everybody in America could have read this, the full text of this budget, on the Internet SpeakerNews.House.Gov. SpeakerNews is one word.
CONGRESSPERSON: Guess what? The bill is not on the Web site. I'm not going to vote for this bill because I can't even find the bill.
REP. DAVID DREIER, (R) California: SpeakerNews.House.Gov--the World Wide Web has it. It's there. It's been there since early this morning.
CONGRESSPERSON: Will the gentleman yield?
MARGARET WARNER: California Republican David Dreier later admitted the full text of the balanced budget plan hadn't even made it onto the Internet until this afternoon, but members, nonetheless, voted to move at an accelerated pace and debate the spending side of the budget deal.
REP. KAY GRANGER, (R) Texas: Twenty-seven years, five presidents, and fourteen Congresses have not balanced our budget. If we pass this budget today, the 105th Congress will be different.
REP. JIM MORAN, (D) Virginia: The highest increase in higher education since the GI Bill of 1945; the largest increase in children's health protection since Medicaid in 1965, more than 30 years ago. We've got $500 per child tax credit for 27 million families. We've got entitlement reform.
MARGARET WARNER: Both Republicans and Democrats came to the floor to endorse the plan. But the group of Democrats opposed kept up its fight as well.
REP. PETE STARK, (D) California: The fact is we've got a lousy bill. We would have been better if we stayed home. Now, look it, the budget's going to balance next year without a bill. In this bill it takes five years to balance, and after it balances, we get deficits again. If we had no budget bill, we'd balance and get surpluses. So great job, you guys.
MARGARET WARNER: But, as expected, the majority of members sided with Budget Committee Chairman John Kasich, who has led the balanced budget effort in the House since 1989.
REP. JOHN KASICH, Chairman, Budget Committee: Don't ever let your colleagues tell you you can't get there. Don't ever let your staff say it can't be done; the mountain is too high. If you'll maintain integrity, if you'll build a team, if you'll be inclusive, if you'll stay honest to yourself, I don't care what your dream is, you can get it done through this House.
SPOKESMAN: Those in favor, please say aye.
MARGARET WARNER: Late this afternoon, the House easily approved the spending side of the balanced budget deal.