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Dole: Dems Ungracious in Demanding Packwood’s Quick Departure

September 9, 1995

WASHINGTON (AP) _ GOP presidential hopeful Sen. Bob Dole denied reports Saturday that he lost an argument with Democrats over whether Sen. Bob Packwood would be allowed to remain in office for 90 days after his resignation last week.

Dole, R-Kan., made a courtesy call to Sen. Thomas Daschle, D-S.D., over the matter, but never discussed 90 days, he said Saturday on CNN’s ``Evans & Novak.″

``We had a very frank discussion. We both agreed we needed some time to wrap up these affairs, figure out what’s going on, pack up. And I think he’d like to have 60 days but he got three weeks.″

Packwood announced his resignation Thursday, rather than face almost certain expulsion because of allegations of sexual and ethical misconduct. The Oregon Republican, who stepped down as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee on Friday, said he will leave Congress on Oct. 1.

It wasn’t hard to get Packwood to leave quickly, but it was somewhat ungracious of Democrats to demand that he do so, Dole said.

``I mean, I could cite some cases where we had people who had been convicted of felonies on the other side of the aisle,″ he said, adding that there was a six-month delay in handling an explusion hearing on Sen. Harrison Williams Jr., a New Jersey Democrat who eventually resigned and went to prison for his role in the Abscam bribery sting.

Dole said he disagrees with other Republicans who believe the Senate Ethics Committee treated Packwood unfairly, but ``I think we have to look at that process. There’s something wrong with the process when the Ethics Committee is, in effect, forced to be the prosecutor, the judge and the jury.″

Dole also said there’s little chance of compromise with the White House over upcoming negotiations on the federal budget. He also saw little need for a summit with Democrats to avoid a stalemate that could lead to a government shutdown.

``If the president of the United States asks you to meet, you wouldn’t rule that out. But I don’t think we need a summit meeting,″ he said.

Republicans could attach their budget plans to the bill increasing the U.S. debt limit, something the government needs to continue to do business after Oct. 1, the beginning of the 1996 fiscal year.

``My view is if we pass the appropriation bills before the end of this month, get them down to the president before October 1st and he doesn’t sign those bills, then it’s his fault,″ Dole said. ``But the debt ceiling is certainly a very attractive target. And it’s up to the president to shut down the government. If he wants to shut down the government, he vetoes it.″

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