THE Clinton administration has caught a lot of flak lately, but House Speaker Thomas Foley insists, "The administration has not had a bad first 100 days. They have had a bad last seven days, but not a bad last 100."
Speaking to members of the Newspaper Association of America this week, Representative Foley, a Washington Democrat, discussed the position of the Democratic Party, the recent Senate filibuster, and plans for health-care reform.
Of the general situation on Capitol Hill, Foley noted that this is the first time since Jimmy Carter's presidency that both the legislative branch and the executive branch are in the hands of the Democratic Party. That, he says, "gives us a special responsibility and challenge."
In an interview after the speech, Foley discounted the possibility that Republicans could use a filibuster to block President Clinton's budget in the same way that they blocked his economic-stimulus package.
"I don't think Republicans are going to be vetoing every bill, through filibuster," he said, because it will be hard to keep all 43 GOP senators united. "It was unusual to see all the Republican senators joining" in the stimulus filibuster, he said.
Foley also discussed the health care reform package, saying those who believe it will immediately cut costs are in for an unpleasant surprise. He said the plan will improve the system tremendously, but will initially cost even more than the current system.
"This program, in the short term, will cost more money because you are bringing back universal coverage that is not cheap," he said. "In the long range, it will save money because we will have cost controls that will be a more-rational way to provide services."