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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Clinton Denies His Policy Rests On Yeltsin

WASHINGTON -- President Bill Clinton disputed Friday an assertion by Republican leader Bob Dole that his administration has a Russia-first policy and defended his support for Russian President Boris Yeltsin's government.

"I think it would be curious, indeed, for us to say we have a separate set of rules for these new democracies" and support someone other than Russia's elected leaders, Clinton said at a news conference.

"Boris Yeltsin has been elected president of a country that has a constitution and a democratic system," Clinton said.

"I don't think it's fair to say the United States has a Yeltsin-centered policy or that it is time to determine to deal with someone else," Clinton said.

Despite differences, he said, Yeltsin is an elected president with a term to serve.

Dole, the Senate majority leader, accused Clinton on Thursday of having a Russia-first policy which ignores major policy differences.

Clinton also issued a counter-challenge to congressional Republicans trying to get a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. constitution, saying it is time for them to produce "a disciplined budget" that reduces the deficit and continues investing in America's future.

The controversial balanced budget amendment was defeated in the Senate on Thursday.

The proposal had been a centerpiece of House Republicans' Contract with America -- the legislative wish-list that helped them regain control of the Congress last November -- and was the first key Republican initiative defeated since the new Congress assembled in January.

The proposal officially fell two votes short of the two-thirds majority -- or 67 votes -- required for such amendments.

The final tally was 65 in favor and 35 against the measure. But in reality the Republicans fell just one vote shy of victory. Dole, the amendment's foremost champion, switched his vote from aye to nay at the last minute to meet a procedural requirement so that he would be allowed to bring the budget measure up again some time in the future.

Clinton told a news conference that his budgets are the only blueprints on the table, and the Republicans owe the country one of their own.

So far, he said, their cuts "appear to be to target children in order to pay for tax cuts for upper-income Americans."

Returning to Russia, Clinton said he was confident the State Duma would ratify the START II nuclear disarmament treaty.

He said for years there have been gloomy predictions about what the U.S. Congress and other legislative bodies around the world would or would not do.

"In the end, the democracies normally end up doing the right thing and moving forward on these issues," Clinton said.

He said the need to resolve the disarmament issue was one reason it is important to keep up relations with Yeltsin's government.

Clinton said there has been no date set for a summit meeting with Yeltsin in Moscow, but only because of "scheduling complications," and he intends to proceed with it.

(Reuters, AP)