White House budget officials said last night that they would recommend that President Clinton veto the latest version of the District budget passed by the House.
On a 216 to 210 vote, the House last night approved the D.C. budget for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1. It was the fifth version the House has approved since July.
But lawmakers restored a provision barring private clinics that receive federal money, such as Whitman-Walker, from distributing needles to drug addicts to curb the spread of AIDS and HIV.
That drew an immediate objection from the White House Budget Office, which said the private clinic prohibition is "unacceptable."
The president would have signed the bill, budget officials said, if the House had kept a previous version of the city's $4.7 billion budget that allowed private clinics to distribute needles without losing federal money.
Many House Republicans contend that distributing needles to addicts encourages drug abuse. Senators, including some Republicans, were willing to permit needle exchanges by private clinics and pressed for that in the city budget.
Earlier yesterday, Clinton, as expected, vetoed a version of the District's budget that had been merged with a labor, health and human services and education spending bill.
Clinton vetoed that bill because of objections he had to the labor spending bill. He has said he would sign the D.C. bill if it came to him separately or as part of another bill he supports.
The House, in its vote last night, tried to send a separate bill, but Clinton administration officials said the change made in the needle exchange provision "undercuts the progress that has been made" on the city's budget.