Johnson's Budget Criticized
President Johnson's record $135-billion budget for the next fiscal year brought cries from Republicans in Congress yesterday that is lavish, excessive, inflationary and loaded with "gimmickry."
While Senate Democratic leader Mike Mansfield declared Johnson "has done the best he could to keep the budget within minimal, manageable limits," some liberal Democrats urged more spending on Great Society programs.
Senate Republican leader Everett McKinley Dirksen of Illinois criticized what he described as budget gimmicks. Specifically, he referred to budget figures indicating that $5 billion will be realized from the sale of participation loans. Dirksen said that while this money is counted as income there is no balance sheet to show a loss in government-held assets.
Rep. Frank T. Bow of Ohio, the ranking Republican on the House Appropriations committee, said the budget is "an enigma proposing, on one hand, something for almost everybody, and on the other hand, moves to gobble up our economic resources and dull the will of private enterprise." In the same vein, Republican Rep. Charles A. Halleck of Indiana described the budget as "guns, butter, and a lot of fat."
Domestic cutbacks by Johnson were questioned by Sens. Abraham A. Ribicoff D-Conn, who led an investigation into the plight of cities, and Joseph S. Clark, D.Pa., chairman of a subcommittee studying poverty.
"I very much regret the cutbacks in appropriations for the whole spectrum of Great Society programs," Clark said.
Both Democrats and Republicans promised that Congress will take a hard look at spending proposals before voting on them. Mansfield conceded that Congress will approve less than Johnson recommended.
The President's proposed defense budget is the largest since World War II, but provides an increase of only $2.5 billion to support the Vietnam war. Defense officials said the relatively small increase is in line with Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara's repeated assertion that the rate of buildup will slow this year.
However, Rep. Melvin R. Laird of Wisconsin, chairman of the House Republican Conference, said the Vietnam war budget is already out of date when compared with present spending levels.