Clinton Calls For Passage Of ‘Must List’
President Clinton on Saturday called on the Republican-controlled Congress to approve his “must list” of legislation, including welfare reform, tax cuts for the middle class and preservation of the ban on assault weapons.
“Real welfare reform, tax and spending cuts that reduce both the budget deficit and the education deficit, and more steps to fight crime, not to back up on that fight - those are my top priorities,” he said in his weekly radio address.
Clinton, who taped the speech Friday, is spending the weekend at Camp David, the presidential retreat in northern Maryland. Congress is in recess for Easter.
Clinton credited Congress with accomplishing some “good” work during its first 100 days, noting that he campaigned on issues tackled by the lawmakers, including federal spending cuts, the line-item presidential veto, tougher criminal sentences and paperwork reduction.
But he complained that many of the lawmakers’ new proposals “go too far.”
Among these were “cuts in education and job training, undermining environmental protections, undermining our efforts to put 100,000 new police on our streets, legislation to permit the sale of assault weapons, and penalties for going into court to assert your rights as a citizen,” he said.
He said he shares Congress’ desire to reform the welfare system, but declared that any such changes should not “punish children for their parents’ mistakes.”
Welfare reform legislation must “demand work and responsibility” and set specific time limits for benefits, he said.
Tax cuts must be aimed at the middle class, be paid for by spending cuts and must include deductions for college costs, he said. He noted that he has put forth $80 billion in spending cuts beyond those needed to finance his tax-cut proposals.
Finally, Clinton reiterated his promise to veto any legislative attempt to repeal the assault-weapons ban or to cut back on “our commitment for 100,000 new police officers on the street,” both key elements of last year’s anti-crime legislation.