Byline: Joyce Barrett

WASHINGTON — President Clinton’s budget-balancing proposal sent to Congress Thursday would, among other things, raise the minimum wage in two 45-cent steps to $5.15 an hour by July 1, 1997, from the current $4.25.
This is the White House’s third version of the proposal in an attempt to reach a compromise with Congress on how to balance the budget by 2002. Republicans criticized the President’s plan for falling $400 billion short of that goal but promised they would continue to negotiate with the administration.
Unlike congressional Republicans, the administration would not reduce capital gains taxes on individuals or corporations and would not reduce estate taxes on family-owned businesses, two items sought by retailers.
Unless the impasse over budget planning is breached, government spending will run out Dec. 15 and the government could face another partial shutdown.
Meanwhile, Congress has sent to the White House a spending bill for the current fiscal year that spares heavy cuts for textile-apparel programs, but the bill faces an almost certain veto. The bill would provide $7 million for the National Textile Center and $3 million for the Textile Clothing Technology Corp., known as TC. It also provides funding at 90 percent of current levels for the Office of Textiles and Apparel in the Commerce Department.
The funding is included in a $27.3 billion appropriations bill for the departments of Commerce, Justice, State and Judiciary. Clinton has criticized the measure for the level of spending cuts and for the elimination of a police program dubbed COPS.

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