Reagan soft-pedals talk of economic revival after GOP budget victory
Washington — President Reagan is said to be elated over the victory of the Republican-shaped budget in the House. But he is keeping his public comments somewhat muted, his aides say, lest he raise undue expectations over the budget's impact on the economy.
Robert Teeter, who does polls for the Republican Party, says the political impact of the budget ''is an imponderable now.'' He told reporters June 15 that the President's handling of the economy will be the central issue in the fall elections.
A year ago the President and his staff were using every available forum to trumpet his economic initiatives, arguing they would result in a decided upturn for the economy. Then came the recession, which Mr. Reagan had not forecast.
Now the President, together with Secretary of Treasury Donald T. Regan and other economic advisers, are saying only that the President's economic policy -- together with the GOP budget now nearing adoption in Congress -- will help to bring about a better business climate.
The budget proposal passed by the House differs from that passed by the Senate. But aides say the two proposals -- both endorsed by Reagan -- are close enough to ensure a compromise. And the compromise proposal will, according to Presidential aides, contain basic Reagan thrusts: a continuation of the 25 percent (over three years) tax reduction, big increases in defense spending, and heavy cuts into social programs.
Rep. Barber B. Conable Jr. (R) of New York says the budget resolution is ''a political document, not an economic document.'' Though he isn't sure how much the President and Republicans will be helped politically by the budget, Mr. Conable says one certain gain is that Mr. Reagan will avoid the public perception of a president who isn't able to govern.
Pollster Teeter says that Reagan's standing with the public now has ''flattened out'' with around 45 percent support. He says he doesn't expect it to drop any further.
Teeter says the support consists of ''very policy-oriented people'' who were very much wedded to the Reagan thrust toward less government and less government spending.
Mr. Conable and other Republican leaders say budget-spurred support for Reagan and Republicans this fall will depend on whether the business community perceives that the budget will have a stabilizing affect on the economy - enough to encourage new investments and expansion.