Minimum Wage Compromise

A bipartisan group of House members is crafting compromise legislation that would combine a minimum-wage increase with billions of dollars in tax breaks for some businesses and the self-employed, officials said yesterday.

These officials said the emerging compromise is likely to call for a $1.30 increase over four years in the $5.15 hourly wage floor. That's less than what the White House and many Democrats want but more than what GOP leaders favor.

The tax breaks would make the cost of health care fully deductible for the self-employed; offset part of the cost of hiring certain low-wage earners; and increase the deductibility of meals as business expenses for small businesses and the self-employed.

93 Arrested in Drug Raids

Ninety-three people have been arrested in a crackdown on one of the largest drug cartels in Mexico, federal law enforcement officials said today.

Nearly $20 million in cash and $7 million in assets were seized during the two-year investigation. Agents also seized more than 12,000 kilograms of cocaine and 4,800 pounds of marijuana. The campaign was conducted by the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Customs Service.

Extension of Tax Breaks Urged

With President Clinton poised to veto the $792 billion Republican tax cut bill, the Internal Revenue Service is urging Congress to move swiftly to extend expiring tax provisions so new forms can be drafted.

IRS Commissioner Charles O. Rossotti met with Rep. Bill Archer (R-Tex.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, to stress that tax law changes for the 2000 filing season need to be on the president's desk by Oct. 7.

Archer said he will attempt to comply by moving forward on a tax package that would extend several expiring provisions at a one-year cost of about $3 billion. These "extenders" are part of the $792 billion tax cut but, unlike that bill, they have broad bipartisan support.

For the Record

* The House voted 285 to 140 to scrap the Clinton administration's new plan for pricing milk and to replace it with an alternative that is closer to the existing system and favored by farmers outside the upper Midwest. But the vote was largely symbolic since the Senate has no plans to take up the alternative.

* Citing new cooperation from the Justice Department, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) said he would not subpoena Justice officials as part of a probe into the Clinton administration's granting of clemency to 14 Puerto Rican nationalists. Hatch, who fiercely criticized Attorney General Janet Reno recently, called her a "very good person" after a meeting with her, saying, "to her credit, she has indicated she will cooperate with us."