Boehner Vs. McDermott

Lawsuit Reinstated

A federal appeals court yesterday reinstated a civil lawsuit filed by Rep. John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) against a Democratic House member who allegedly leaked the contents of a highly sensitive taped telephone call to the press.

The 2 to 1 ruling by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals rekindles Boehner's fight against Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) The appellate judges said McDermott "took part in an illegal transaction" when he obtained a tape recording made by a Florida couple who intercepted the call. If McDermott didn't break the law, the judges wrote, "he was at least skirting the edge."

The decision reverses a ruling by U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan, who threw out the suit. Boehner wants $10,000 in damages.

Senators Would Allow

Delay in Making F-22

The congressional battle over the fate of the Air Force's F-22 fighter jet program took another turn as Senate champions of the program said they would agree to put off production for a year provided the House commits to manufacturing 10 of the planes in fiscal 2001.

Rather than spending $1.5 billion next year to procure the fighter aircraft, as the Senate originally favored, most of those funds would be used for additional research, development and advanced testing. The Air Force already has spent close to $25 billion developing the F-22 but has completed only about 5 percent of the necessary test flights. The House has not approved any money to build the plane next year.

Senate Passes Funds for

Housing, Science, Vets

The Senate approved a $97 billion measure financing next year's housing, veterans and science programs, despite a White House veto threat over shortfalls for some environmental and public housing efforts.

The measure was approved by voice vote. The next step is for senators to try crafting a compromise with the House, which approved its version two weeks ago. The Senate bill is $2.5 billion below what President Clinton requested. But it provides $5 billion more than the House approved, making it much closer to the legislation's likely final version.

Business Groups Spurn

Minimum Wage Plan

A bipartisan proposal aimed at raising the minimum wage is running into trouble with business groups. A group of moderate Republicans and conservative Democrats, led by Reps. Rick Lazio (R-N.Y.) and Gary A. Condit (D-Calif.), has suggested raising the $5.15 hourly wage by $1.30 over four years while providing a number of tax breaks for the businesses most affected by the hike.

Key business groups, such as the National Restaurant Association, the National Federation of Independent Business and the National Retail Federation, indicated that they could not support a $1.30 increase.

Defense Dept. Honors

Clark's NATO Command

Gen. Wesley K. Clark, the supreme commander of NATO forces in the air campaign against Yugoslavia, was awarded the Defense Distinguished Service Medal in a surprise ceremony yesterday at the Pentagon.

Defense Secretary William S. Cohen presented the award, the highest honor he can grant on his own authority, at a meeting of four-star admirals and generals.

The citation accompanying the medal states that "General Clark's diplomatic, political and military acumen, as well as his personal command presence, was singularly responsible" for maintaining the unity of NATO's 19 member countries in the alliance's first offensive operation.