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Clinton cabinet takes shape under 'investment' theme.

President-elect Bill Clinton named Senate Finance Committee Chairman Lloyd Bentsen (D-Tex.) as his Secretary of the Treasury and House Budget Committee Chairman Leon Panetta (D-Calif.) as his Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) last Thursday afternoon. Clinton, at a press conference where he announced the appointments of the senior members of his economic team and the first members of his new cabinet, said his nominations were a clear signal of his commitment to an "investment strategy for America."

Bentsen, who defeated President George Bush to get elected to the U.S. Senate in 1970, worked closely with NLC last summer to incorporate key provisions in his version of the urban aid tax bill to provide economic assistance and leverage bank investment in all distressed cities and towns. Panetta, a former executive assistant to New York City Mayor John Lindsay, will bring a message of firm commitment to deficit reduction to the Clinton economic team.

NLC President Don Fraser, who served in the House with Panetta and testified on behalf of NLC before his Budget Committee earlier this year, strongly praised the appointments: "President-elect Clinton has sent a firm message to the Congress, the American people, and our cities that the era of gridlock is over, the era of blame is over, and the era of disinvestment is done. He has begun his service by selecting leaders who have bipartisan respect in the Congress, proven records, and a commitment to making government work.

"In presenting his new, economic team, the President-elect has taken the first step toward changing federal budget and spending priorities toward investing in the future of our communities and our kids and to setting us on the road to deficit reduction."

Panetta authored legislation last May to eliminate the federal deficit by 1998 through a combination of freezing federal discretionary spending and imposing "pay-as-you-go" rules on federal entitlement and tax spending. In introducing that bill, Panetta made clear that reinvestment in the nation will be difficult until the federal government is ready and willing to make the hard choices in entitlement spending and taxes necessary to reduce the federal deficit and pay for investments in the country's future.

Bentsen introduced his version of the urban aid tax bill shortly after the NLC summer board meeting and included provisions to provide cities and towns with the new authority to issue tax exempt economic development bonds. His bill also would have reauthorized expired municipal authority to issue mortgage revenue and small issue industrial development bonds, eased restrictions on traditional municipal bonds, and created incentives for local banks to invest in local economic development. The Bentsen bill would have created up to 150 billion in tax incentives and $2.5 billion in direct grants to those cities and towns. Clinton also announced his nominations of Robert Rubin to be his Economic Advisor, Alice Rivlin to be Deputy OMB Director, and Roger Altman to be the Deputy Secretary of the Treasury. In response to a question about Rubin's role and responsibility, Clinton said Rubin would be in charge of his Economic Security Council--which, he said, would be comparable to the current National Security Council.

The President-elect said that he planned for the Economic Security Council to have a broad role in coordinating domestic economic policy and that he planned to include the Departments of Commerce and Labor in that process. He clarified that Bentsen would be the chief economic spokesperson for the administration, after Clinton.
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Title Annotation:President-elect Bill Clinton
Author:Shafroth, Frank
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:Dec 14, 1992
Words:576
Previous Article:Fraser asks colleagues to work for change with new administration.
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