WASHINGTON — WHEN the budget battle is over, more federal spending cuts are on the way from the White House.
Vice President Al Gore Jr. plans to produce another chunk of spending-cut proposals next month in his report to the president on how to "reinvent government."
"There will be a reduction in the size of government as a result of this report," Mr. Gore told reporters at a Monitor breakfast yesterday.
Administration officials, including President Clinton, have been hinting this week of more spending cuts to come after the budget's passage.
Gore's six-month National Performance Review is the most likely forum for those cuts. The point of the review is to make government bureaucracy more effective and efficient.
But it will save the taxpayers "a significant amount of money," he says. The White House's concern over cutting the federal deficit has grown as deficit estimates and the momentum driving them have grown, Gore says.
The deficit represents a threat to the American spirit, he says: "Do we have the capacity any longer to say "no" to ourselves and to reclaim our economic future?" The deficit has become a symbol of that inability, and reducing it has become a "prerequisite" for gaining control over the nation's economic future.
If the Clinton budget clears Congress this week, then both the North American Free Trade Agreement and the health-care overhaul that Mr. Clinton will produce in September can pass Congress this year, Gore predicts. Passing the health-care proposals, he allows, "will mean working late into the year."
Gore says that the effort to reform the federal bureaucracies could emerge as one of the "most exciting" achievements of the Clinton administration. He has reviewed some 500 previous efforts to reform government, and none of them rely on building alliances and using the expertise in the federal bureaucracies themselves as the Gore-led effort does, he says. He notes that 120,000 employees work full time in preparing the federal budget. "That's nuts," he says.
He notes one bureaucrat who described the 10-month wait and 23 approvals necessary to buy a personal computer for his desk - a computer two generations out of date and at higher cost than most private corporations pay.
The cost savings, he warns, may take eight to 10 years to realize.