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Finally, urban aid action appears close; down to the wire, Bradley, Bentsen push for passage.

Down to the wire, Bradley, Bentsen push for passage

This week will be a critical test for federal promises to respond to city issues and priorities.

Despite confusion about the White House position on urban aid legislation, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Lloyd Bentsen (D-Tex.) told Los Angeles Mayor and former NLC president Tom Bradley last week he intended to complete action on the bill in the Senate this week, beginning on Wednesday, September 23. That would leave less than a week to get the $31 billion tax bill through the Senate, through conference with the House, and to the White House. Congress in scheduled to adjourn on October 3.

The urban aid bill is the only federal response to the promises made by President Bush and House and Senate leaders in the aftermath of the civil disturbances in Los Angeles last spring to enact immediate legislation to assist large and small cities facing high levels of poverty, unemployment, crimes and alienation.

The pending Senate version of the bill, HR 11, would:

* create enterprise zones in 125 cities or towns at a cost of $5 billion;

* would give all distressed cities and towns the authority to issue a new kind of tax exempt municipal economic development bond, as well as create incentives for ban investment in local projects and bonds;

* would reauthorize key, expired municipal tax programs: mortgage revenue and small issue industrial development bonds, and low income housing and targeted jobs tax credit; and

* would simplify and reduce the cost of issuance of tax exempt bonds.

Bentsen indicated he was encouraged by both Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell (D-Maine) and Minority Leader Robert Dole (R-Kans.) to press forward despite mixed signals from the administration. There is strong, bipartisan support for the bill in the Senate, and Mitchell and Dole have promised to work with Bentsen to try and limit debate and cut down on the more than 80 pending amendments to the bill.

Republican leaders in the House and Senate have indicated that the President will veto the bill no matter what is in the final version, but Bentsen said he does not know what the President's position or priorities on the bill are. The White House has expressed specific opposition to two revenue raising provisions which would permanently extend the current law limitation on the deductibility of state and local taxes and permanently extend the personal exemption phase-out for high income taxpayers.

The administration has not, however, indicated whether the President would sign the bill if those provisions were removed or veto if for other reasons.
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Title Annotation:Tom Bradley, Lloyd Bentsen
Author:Shafroth, Frank
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:Sep 21, 1992
Words:427
Previous Article:Congress hits homestretch to face key urban issues.
Next Article:NLC-backed cable bill gets strong House vote; bipartisanship helps cable measure, but veto still looms.
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