Tax Cut Veto Postponed

President Clinton, hoarse after a trip to New Zealand, will wait until next week to deliver his long-promised veto of a $792 billion Republican tax cut bill so he can do it good and loud, the White House said yesterday.

"I think as you noticed today, the president was on his last words with his voice, so I think we'll put off 'til at least Monday any signing ceremony," White House spokesman Joe Lockhart told reporters.

Sanctions on China Sought

Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) has demanded sanctions against China for selling missile technology. He said he would block confirmation of an assistant secretary of state if the Clinton administration does not comply.

Helms issued the ultimatum--any senator has the power to block nominations--at a hearing at which CIA official Robert Walpole repeated intelligence conclusions that China and North Korea had aided Pakistan's missile capabilities.

"Enough is enough," said Helms, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He said he would stop the confirmation of Robert Einhorn as assistant secretary of state for nonproliferation until sanctions are imposed against China. Einhorn is a special adviser to the undersecretary for nonproliferation.

More Control Over Islands

Greater federal control of the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. territory in the western Pacific, appears to be inescapable as the area's immigration and labor problems continue, federal officials told a House committee.

The Clinton administration believes the government should extend U.S. immigration law and wage and trade regulations to the cover the islands, which have been criticized as a haven for illegal aliens, sweatshop operators and foreign crime gangs.

President Ronald Reagan gave U.S. citizenship to Northern Marianas residents in 1986. Most U.S. laws apply there, but Congress decided against applying immigration law and the minimum-wage law while the islands struggled to become economically self-sufficient. Many Republicans in Congress believe applying the minimum wage would destroy the islands' economy.

Panel to Review Farm Law

In a sign of growing congressional unease with government farm policy, the chairman of the House Agriculture Committee announced plans for a comprehensive review of the 1996 "Freedom to Farm" law.

Republicans have resisted making changes to the law, which ended a Depression-era system of subsidies, but commodity prices plummeted last year because of a worldwide glut of grain and are expected to remain depressed through 2000.

Lawmakers are working on a multibillion-dollar bailout of the agricultural economy for a second year in a row. Rep. Larry Combest (R-Tex.), who became chairman of the committee this year, said the panel will hold hearings starting early next year, with an eye toward moving changes through Congress before farmers begin planting crops next fall.