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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Pessimistic Gingrich Sees Long-Lasting Stalemate

WASHINGTON -- The Clinton administration held out hope Thursday for a budget compromise despite growing pessimism from House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who said it may take the November election to break the impasse.


"Something turned him more pessimistic than he needs to be," said White House spokesman Mike McCurry, referring to Gingrich. "I'm not sure what that is."


Clinton plans to meet next week with Republican leaders to try and break the deadlock, McCurry said. An agreement "is possible, but it's not definite."


Earlier, Labor Secretary Robert Reich, interviewed on Fox television, also expressed optimism.


He said Gingrich's pessimism is "unfortunate. This thing can be over tomorrow, in 15 minutes. I don't know why he is being as pessimistic as he is."


Gingrich said he may try to pass a series of short-term spending bills that would keep the government operating at reduced levels until the election.


With no new negotiations likely before the middle of next week, Congress took a break Wednesday after its leaders and President Clinton failed to come to terms on a seven-year budget-balancing plan that would resolve the threat of another government shutdown Jan. 27.


Stock and bond markets tumbled Wednesday shortly after Gingrich, speaking in Casper, Wyoming, predicted: "The odds are better than even, as of today, that there will be no agreement."


Talking with reporters later in Seattle, Gingrich said Republicans were looking at the possibility of approving so-called continuing resolutions -- temporary spending bills that would keep the government in business. The current short-term spending bill expires Jan. 26.