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Congress Wraps Up Work On Final Spending Bills


WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Nov. 13) -- In an effort to break the impasse keeping Congress in session, congressional leaders and the White House reached a compromise on details of the remaining three federal spending bills for 1998 that must be passed before adjournment.

In the face of a threatened veto by President Bill Clinton, Republicans agreed to yield to the Clinton Administration's position on overseas abortion aid and school vouchers.

The spending bill to refinance the District of Columbia government is now poised to go to Clinton's desk after passing both chambers in voice votes. The $820 million appropriations measure no longer contains a Republican plan to provide $3,200 vouchers to some 2,000 students in the nation's capital to attend private school.

Early this morning, the House approved the Foreign Operations spending bill for next year. The final foreign aid package was stripped of any restrictions on overseas abortion aid that the GOP had previously pushed. The Senate is expected to pass the measure today or tomorrow.

The president did not get everything he wanted out of the foreign aid bill. He got $50 million less for overseas family planning than requested.

The White House criticized the House for not including $900 million in United Nations funding to pay back dues, calling the move "utterly bone-headed" in view of current U.N. efforts in Iraq.

"This is a particularly ill-timed move by Congress at a moment when we are attempting to work with the United Nations to build an international support for an appropriate response to provocations by Saddam Hussein," White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry said. "It is utterly bone-headed for Congress to fail to meet the commitments that the United States has at the UN in terms of our arrears."


An additional $3.5 billion for the International Monetary Fund to help ailing Southeast Asian currencies was also not included in the final package, as the White House wanted.

Work is still pending on the $30 billion appropriations bill for the departments of Commerce, Justice and State, the last of the 13 spending bills. A compromise was reached on one disputed issue in this bill concerning the 2000 census. The Census Bureau will be able to proceed with a test next year using the statistical sampling method, as wanted by the Clinton Administration.

But Republicans succeeded in having language included that allows the speaker of the House to challenge the results in court.

Congress could not adjourn on Nov. 7, as originally planned, because the federal appropriations bills were not completed. Fiscal 1998 began on Oct. 1 but Congress passed a short-term measure to keep the government operational.

"If we're lucky, we'll be out late tomorrow," House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) said Wednesday.

In Other News:

Thursday Nov. 13, 1997

Dems Block Vote On Lee Nomination
Attorney General Extends Probe Of Interior Secretary
Paula Jones Deposed By Clinton's Lawyer
House Panel Probes Controversial Democratic Donor
Congress Wraps Up Work On Final Spending Bills

News Briefs:
A Miami Voting Scandal
No Election? Town Says It Forgot
Boggs, Foglietta Sworn In
No Clinton-Netanyahu Meeting Next Week

E-Mail From Washington:
Amtrak Vote Expected Tonight
House Gives New Dollar Coin Final Congressional Approval
House Republicans Trumpet Their Successes
Facing Defeat, Dems Avoid Lee Vote

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