Clinton sticks to his guns and urges Congress to pass crime bill
Monday 15 August 1994
Infuriated yet galvanised by Thursday's procedural defeat of the dollars 33bn (pounds 21bn) measure, Mr Clinton spent the weekend carrying his message directly to the public, first in his weekly radio address, and then yesterday in a quickly arranged appearance before a predominantly black congregation at a church in the Washington suburbs.
As partisan feuding and frantic tactical manoeuvres by the House Democratic leadership continued yesterday, the ban on 19 types of street weapons has emerged as the main sticking block to re-introduction and passage of the bill which Democrats insist they will achieve this week.
But Mr Clinton gave no sign of backing off in a conflict which is turning into a test of his steadfastness. Brushing aside calculations of some of his own supporters that without the ban the measure would pass, he declared in his radio address that the bill 'must ban the weapons which have no place on our streets'. He again accused the anti-gun control National Rifle Association and Republicans of playing a 'procedural trick' to block the measure.
Mr Clinton's unwillingness to give ground reflects two considerations. One is the White House fear that any compromise might only cost more votes than it wins. Second, and more important, it is acutely aware that on an issue supported by the general public, a readiness to make deals might only reinforce doubts about his 'character', and the suspicion that in the crunch, Mr Clinton will always sacrifice principle for political expediency.
Hence the importance the tussle has acquired for the entire future of his presidency, eclipsing temporarily even the struggle over health care, which forced the Senate into a rare Saturday session at the weekend. The upshot once more was endless Republican speechifying, but no actual votes on amendments to the bill tabled by the Majority Leader, George Mitchell.
If public utterances are any guide, a deal might yet be struck. In an overture to moderate Republicans, Senator Mitchell said yesterday he is open to compromise on specific provisions of the bill - though not its goal of universal coverage.
And even his sparring partner, Bob Dole, Republican leader in the Senate, sounded less hostile than of late. Speaking on the same TV current affairs show, Mr Dole hinted that the de facto floor filibuster was about to end, and that votes might be taken later this week.
Leading article, page 13
- 1 The scientist who takes 100 drugs a day so he can live to 150
- 2 The Visit: Trailer for M Night Shyamalan's latest horror film is terrifying
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 4 The confessions of men who ordered mail-order brides
- 5 General Election 2015: Stephen Hawking says he will vote Labour
General Election 2015: Tories sack candidate who said she would never support 'the Jew' Ed Miliband
9/11: Iranian General accuses US of organising September 11 terror attacks
General Election 2015: Stephen Hawking says he will vote Labour
Yazidi sex slaves undergoing surgery to 'restore virginity' after being raped by Isis militants
Australian student Tommy Connolly, 23, adopts his pregnant, homeless 17-year-old cousin to give her a chance at 'a better life'
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
Andrew Lloyd Webber: Phantom of the Opera writer mocked after issuing a warning about Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon
General election 2015: Labour will toughen hate crimes legislation surrounding Islamophobia
EU exit would hit UK economy much harder than neighbouring countries, study finds
£17000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...
£19000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Small Family Accountancy Practi...
£18000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is recruiting for ...
£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This B2B software supplier, spe...