The inevitable has
Congress and a
Clinton saw all
shut down for a
week, one of the
ever in US political history. Some
who reported Ior
work on the
morning of November
14 had to
return home and
stayed put as acrimordus exchanges
reach a solution
marked the tumultous
It all began with Clinton veto- ing a temporary finance bill to raise the debt limit, passed earlier by the Congress. He described as "irresponsible", the conditions laid down by the Republicans to keep the government open which included increase in medicare premiums, reduction in education spending and underminIng environment. The Republicans, meanwhile, refused to concede seeking a seven-year programme to balance the budget instead of the 10 years that Clinton wanted. Remarked Newt Gingrich, House Speaker, derisively of Clinton, "Idly sitting down at the White House issuing veto threats is not a very useful step towards governing. The crisis was resolved after Clinton agreed to the Republican plan of a balanced budget but sought protection for some domestic programmes against deep spending cum The US government has been shut down on nine previous occasions since 1981 with both the Congress and the President bent on pushing their own agenda.
The tough stand that Clinton took is seen more as an effort to retain his reputation as a survivor against all odds. Obviously, more at stake is the presidential elections next year. Opinion polls conducted during the standoff favour Clinton's stand and show that the Republican image has taken a beating.
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