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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Senate Tries to Assuage U.S. Crisis

WASHINGTON -- Weary of the partial federal shutdown of the federal government, the U.S. Senate has voted to immediately return furloughed civil servants to work.


House Republicans, however, stood firm against Tuesday's measure until President Clinton agrees to a budget-balancing deal, and after three hours of negotiations with Clinton, no such breakthrough was reported.


Saying "enough is enough,'' Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole got unanimous approval for a measure that would temporarily reopen closed government facilities while the budget talks continue.


The House Republican leaders emerged from a meeting Wednesday with a decision not to take a vote in the House on the Senate-passed measures.


"Although there is a crisis and a lot of government employees are experiencing some hardship, the fact is 260 million Americans are facing another crisis -- a budget that is out of balance and has been for 30 years," Representative John Boehner said Wednesday on CBS television.


Highlighting differences between the House and Senate, House Speaker Newt Gingrich said he preferred to link an end to the 19-day federal shutdown to a budget-balancing accord.


Gingrich, a Republican, and other congressional leaders met Tuesday night at the White House in the latest round of talks over ending federal deficits by 2002.


When it was over, White House spokesman Mike McCurry read a bipartisan statement saying the bargainers had made "constructive progress" and would meet again Wednesday.


"I hope we can reach an agreement," Clinton said before the session. He called the Senate vote to return workers to their jobs "a very good sign" and urged the House to do the same.


Gingrich said he would discuss the Tuesday evening meeting with rank-and-file Republicans on Wednesday. But earlier, he said the closure would end when there was a deal to balance the budget.


Asked if the Senate-approved bill signaled a disagreement between Gingrich and Dole, Gingrich spokesman Tony Blankley said, "Of course, it can't possibly pass the House."


The legislation, sponsored by Dole and passed by voice vote, would return 260,000 idled federal workers to work immediately, and pay them and about 500,000 other civil servants who have been at their jobs but unpaid. It would run through Jan. 12 as budget talks proceed.