WASHINGTON -- After prevailing on Democrats to pass his budget by the smallest of margins last week, President Bill Clinton yesterday called on Republicans to help pass the next big item on his economic agenda -- a health-care reform bill aimed in part at reducing the federal deficit to zero. "We cannot have every great issue of the day decided on the basis of partisanship," Clinton said in a speech in Charleston, W.Va. "We have got to do some of these things together."
The President heralded the $496 billion budget plan as "a good beginning" and "a first, but major step to take control over our economic destiny." With nearly 20% of national income going toward interest on the debt, "we cannot turn this around overnight," he said. "but we can never turn it around unless we show a willingness to change."