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Secretary Brown says Clinton will 'get America back on track.' (Commerce Secretary Ron Brown)

Promoting the Clinton Administration's economic plan to thousands of local elected officials, Commerce Secretary Ron Brown told local elected officials "Let's stop worrying about who's going to get the credit and get America back on track again."

Brown and Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.), with journalist David Gergen as moderator, debated President Clinton's three-pronged economic recovery plan for America at the Budget Plenary session during NLC's Congressional-City Conference, March 8.

Rep. Martin Sabo (D-Minn.), chair of the House Budget Committee, was scheduled to take part in the panel discussion, but had to cancel his appearance in order to meet with President Clinton to urge that deeper spending cuts be added to the Clinton economic plan at the request of Hill Democrats.

Domenici, critical of the President's plan, said public approval of the plan is rooted in a euphoria that will disappear once "the American people see that we're not going to get the cuts" promised by the administration. He told delegates to the conference to "understand that there are not very many real cuts," in the President's economic agenda.

The Senator from New Mexico spoke out in favor of increasing proposed cuts to the tune of another $50 to $60 billion.

Secretary Brown said the President is interested in hearing about deeper cuts. In fact, later that day, after meeting with Sabo and other Hill Democrats, the President did announce that he would back the increased cuts in spending.

Domenici, asked by Gergen if he would back the deeper cuts proposed, said, in his opinion, the "appropriations process won't yield the |real McCoy.'" Domenici suggested increased cuts should be carved out of the non-social security entitlements.

He encouraged a higher ratio of cuts to new taxes.

"The unemployed don't care about ratios," Brown countered.

On the spending side of the President's plan, Domenici accused the administration of misleading the public by referring to spending as investment.

Job creation was stressed by Brown as a key concern of the President's plan to revitalize the economy.

The Commerce Secretary said the administration, for every component of its plan, has a "column" on job impact. "There are two principal questions" the Clinton team asks of every proposal, Brown said: "One, what impact do these decisions have on jobs; and two, what is the distributional impact. This means, who does it help and who does it hurt?"

Eddie Garcia of Grand View, Mo. suggested from the audience that the administration ask itself how legislation affects the nation's small cities. Brown assured Garcia that the administration is eager to level the playing field.

Another audience member urged that all emerging plans subscribe to the adage, Keep It Simple.

In support of the Clinton plan, Tom Mohegan, mayor pro tem from Fresno, a community with a 17 percent unemployment rate, said of the president's plan: "It isn't perfect. There need to be more cuts, and they have to be more specific, but it's the most perfect plan I've heard of."
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Author:Ryder, Julianne Ryan
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:Mar 15, 1993
Words:494
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