WASHINGTON -- President Clinton warned late Tuesday that the Superconducting Super Collider is "in danger" of being killed in the Senate funding battle expected later this summer.
The assessment, coming from the Texas atomic energy project's chief supporter here. appears to be the most dire estimate yet of the prospects for the collider and its outstanding $250 million of lease revenue bonds.
"The super collider was defeated soundly in the House, and its fate is in danger in the Senate, but I want you to know why," Clinton said in a session with reporters from Louisiana. Louisianan members of Congress are among the strongest supporters of the project.
"The people of Texas just voted in the Senate race overwhelmingly for a new senator who basically said that the issue was ~spending, stupid,' and accused the Congress of making no spending cuts." Clinton said.
"When the House of Representatives was voting just a couple of weeks ago on the collider, which benefits overwhelmingly the state of Texas, the two United States senators from Texas were outside on the steps with Ross Perot telling the House they ought to cut spending and attacking them for not doing it.
"I frankly think a lot of people got sick and tired of hearing that. And I hate to say it, because I am for the collider," Clinton said.
"I hope I can save it," he said, "but it is difficult to get these other members of Congress from other states that do not benefit from it to vote for it when the people from the states that do benefit from it ... engage in rhetoric which is simply not true." Clinton said.
The Senate Appropriations Committee, which is considering whether to include funding for the collider in its fiscal 1994 energy and water appropriations bill, is scheduled to hold hearings on the Project Tuesday and Wednesday.