Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott Saturday said the Republican-led Congress is willing to cooperate with President Clinton if he “meant what he said during the campaign” about favoring a smaller government and a balanced budget.
But Lott, in the weekly Republican radio address, warned that the GOP majority will “resist with every fiber of our being” if the president “reverts to his old agenda of expanding government, if he names the kind of federal judges who would overturn this week’s election results with next year’s court decisions, and if his bridge to the future turns out to be a toll bridge for the taxpayers.”
In a separate appearance on CNN, Senate Majority Whip Don Nickles of Oklahoma also promised to work with Clinton if possible. But he warned that Clinton might be impeached if he pardoned acquaintances convicted in Whitewater-related trials or tried to fire independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr, who Democrats claim is too partisan in his Whitewater investigations.
Lott recalled what Republicans consider unfair demagoguery during the election by Clinton and his supporters, such as Democratic charges that the GOP wanted to gut Medicare. “It is unfortunate there was so much arrogance and cynicism,” Lott said. “Some terribly unfair charges were made, especially about Medicare. The voters deserve better. But we have to put that bitterness behind us now and work together for the good of our country.”
Republican cooperation “will be forthcoming,” Lott said, if Clinton was sincere when he pronounced the era of big government over.
Lott said taxpayers have given Congress a mission to pursue what he called a “commonsense conservatism” that means a “smaller, smarter” government that is “tough on drug dealers, serious about stopping drug abuse and respectful of the traditional values that keep our families and our neighborhoods strong.”
He alluded to recent allegations of fundraising improprieties, saying the mandate from the voters includes “a government that maintains high ethical standards and does not tolerate corruption either by foreign or domestic wheeler-dealers.”