Clinton lobbies hard to win fight on deficit bill: The US President must fight hard to save his deficit bill

BILL CLINTON is this week pulling out every stop in a last-ditch lobbying effort to save his dollars 500bn (pounds 333bn) deficit-cutting package of tax increases and spending cuts, and ward off a Congressional defeat that would probably doom his presidency.

Yesterday a new foe joined the fray, in the unwelcome person of Ross Perot, the Texas businessman whose national standing is, if anything, higher than at last year's presidential election. The plan would 'damage the country', said Mr Perot as he promised an all-out TV campaign to kill it.

The core of the problem lies not with the negotiations between House and Senate specialists to reconcile the differing bills they separately passed earlier this summer. They were expected last night to come up with an agreed version incorporating a flat petrol tax of six to seven cents a gallon, to replace Mr Clinton's plan for a broad energy tax that was rejected by Senate.

Only at that point does the real battle start. The final compromise has to be endorsed by both chambers. None of the six Democrats in the Senate who voted against the package in June have given any sign of a change of heart. Instead, three more, including Nebraska's Bob Kerrey, who ran for the 1992 Democratic nomination, are hinting they might break ranks.

But with Republicans set to vote en masse against the package, the White House cannot afford a single extra defection. Hence Mr Clinton's fierce campaign.

If anything, however, public opinion is moving against him. Nothing Mr Clinton does seems able to erase the impression created by Republicans that he is at heart just another unreconstructed tax-and-spend liberal.

All other things being equal, an unloved package would be doomed. But Mr Clinton's strongest card is negative. If Senate Democrats kill the bill, they would both cripple a President from their own party and demonstrate that even with control of both the White House and Capitol Hill, the party is incapable of governing.

Such is the enduring public disenchantment with Washington, there could be no greater recipe for trouble for Democrats in the 1994 Congressional elections. Hence the odds remain that the President will have his way, albeit by a whisker.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
voices
News
general electionThis quiz matches undecided voters with the best party for them
Life and Style
Men with beards rejoice: Your beard probably doesn't harbour faeces-like bacteria
health
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen starred in the big screen adaptation of Austen's novel in 2005
tvStar says studios are forcing actors to get buff for period roles
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Ashdown Group: Part-time Payroll Officer - Yorkshire - Professional Services

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful professional services firm is lo...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before