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Keeping Congress Running

Congress and the White House are working through the weekend to try and keep the government running. The Republicans and the Clinton administration are caught in what's become an annual battle over appropriations--the measures that provide the money for federal departments and agencies. A temporary funding deal expires on Monday. And everyone's anxious to wrap it all up and start campaigning for re-election. CBS News Correspondent Jonathan Freed has the story.

Budget negotiators met on Capitol Hill to try and resolve the political differences that are holding up government funding for the new fiscal year.

Since those discussions were happening behind closed doors, lawmakers, stuck in town, found ways to keep the debate going.

"I'm not Chiquita banana, but I'm here to say we should not be debating this bill today" says Rep. Joe Moakley(D-MA).

But the mood was more serious among Congressional leaders who are battling for their agenda. The parties are still hung up over education. President Clinton pushed again for more money.

"We must use this moment of good fortune to make an historic investment in the quality of our public schools, and we've still got a few days to do it," said President Clinton in his weekly radio address to the nation.

That didn't sit well with the Majority Leader Sen. Trent Lott. He exclaimed he'd had about enough on the issue.

"This is a crisis! This is an outrage!" said Minority Leader Rep. Richard Gephardt.

Democrats are pushing for more than $6 billion dollars to build more schools and hire a 100,000 new teachers. They accuse the GOP of not caring.

"They've got time for all kinds of bills that they want that mean nothing to the future of this country. We want them to stay here and deal with our children and do something for education," said Gephardt.

"The only difference between us on education is, Do the bureaucrats in Washington control and run it? The White House and his types up here or do the people at the local level?" said Lott.

Republicans ended their day with a pep rally on the steps of the Capitol, chanting "WORK! WORK! WORK!" challenging the President to get serious about cutting a budget deal.

"We're staying in session until the work is done!" said Rep. Heather Wilson (R-NM).

But only the budget negotiators are actually working here this weekend. The rest of Congress is heading home to get in some Columbus Day campaigning. They'll be back on Monday in time to either extend emergency funding to keep the government running or, finally, to pass the new budget.

Reported by CBS News Correspondent Jonathan Freed

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