Accusing Republicans of lacking compassion in their budget plans, President Clinton today promoted a $20.8 billion proposal to consolidate, cut or sell operations at five federal agencies.
"When it comes to cutting, I say bureaucracy first, not women and children first," Clinton said in remarks prepared for an afternoon speech.
Changes at the Federal Communications Commission, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Small Business Administration, Interior Department, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration are the latest installment of Clinton's "reinventing government" drive.
Most of the changes have been publicized or were in the works previously, but the White House hopes to promote Clinton's reforms by packaging the separate agency plans in lumps.
Taking a swipe at deeper Republican cuts, Clinton said, "This administration recognizes that there are plenty of ways to reduce the size and cost of the federal government without cutting off lunch for school kids, or vital nutrition for infants and their mothers."
Clinton and Vice President Gore were expected to highlight FCC auctions of licenses for the next generation of mobile phones. The FCC, which previously gave away certain licenses, has generated more than $7 billion.
Clinton and Gore, who heads the "reinventing government" project, in December announced $24 billion worth of savings from several agencies, saying the money would help pay for the president's $60 billion middle-class tax cut initiative. Clinton gave Gore 90 days to propose more changes.
Gore, who promises to make government work better for less, says the "reinventing government" project already has cut more than 100,000 jobs from the federal payroll.
With the latest effort, aides hope to show that Clinton can pay for a middle-income tax cut through government reductions that are less onerous than GOP plans.
Republicans argue that Clinton's budget-cutting doesn't go far enough. The proposed cuts include:
Closing outdated offices at the Interior Department, including the unit that serves territories such as Guam. Eliminating the territorial office also deletes an assistant secretary's position, the official said.
Turning over some functions of the Federal Emergency Management Agency to states so they can more quickly declare disaster areas.
Consolidating the SBA's popular 7-A loan program, removing government as a middleman between banks and applicants.
Changing contract operations at NASA.