Today's Papers

A New Bill

At the New York Times, the lead story is the strongest indication yet from the Clinton administration that U.S. troops may remain in Bosnia past the originally stated pull-out date. At the Los Angeles Times, it’s the announcement (made while Al Gore was in Moscow on a state visit) that Russia has promised to stop making weapons-grade plutonium. Both the Washington Post and USA Today lead with new prospects for a campaign finance reform bill.

The bi-partisan McCain-Feingold campaign reform bill, which would ban unregulated “soft money” donations, and which has been languishing in the Senate for quite a while, got a new lease on life Tuesday when President Clinton threatened in a letter to Majority Leader Trent Lott to force Congress to stay in session to vote on the measure. The WP elaborates a bit on the presidential power to keep Congress in session, and points out that it hasn’t been exercised since Harry Truman called back the “Do-Nothing” Congress in 1948. The paper also illustrates Trent Lott’s aggravation at the gambit, quoting his warning: “The president has lots of conferences, legislation, appropriations and fast-track [trade authority] that he wants to get through. Threats don’t serve him very well.” USAT states that the Clinton letter was one of several moves “trying to deflect attention from the president’s own fund-raising role in the 1996 election,” and quotes bill opponent Sen. Mitch McConnell as saying, “President Clinton calling for campaign-finance reform is like Bonnie and Clyde calling for bank regulations.”

The Times reports that national security advisor Sandy Berger said Tuesday the U.S. and its European allies must be prepared for an extended stay in Bosnia. The paper says the comments were designed to counter congressional Republicans who want to cut off spending for the mission, and to calm the fears of allies, who don’t want to station their troops in Bosnia without ours. Uncompleted tasks Berger mentioned include supervision of the repatriation of refugees and the apprehension of war criminals.

The Wall Street Journal’s lead feature reveals plans by Toyota and Honda to expand their U.S.-based assembly operations. The paper points out that such moves help insulate the companies from currency fluctuations, exempt them from tariffs, and help in U.S. domestic politics because they create American jobs.

The WP reports that the U.S. and Japan have just agreed formally to expand their security alliance, resulting in Japan’s highest military profile in Asia since World War II. The new defense guidelines, announced formally in New York by Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Defense Secretary William S. Cohen and their Japanese counterparts, mean that Japan would, for the first time since the Pacific war, engage in military activities outside its borders in conflicts involving the U.S. The activities would, however, be primarily logistic rather than active fighting.

The NYT reports that a surprising witness appeared before a NYC City Council hearing on police reform: former NYPD whistleblowing cop Frank Serpico, who called for an independent police monitoring board to investigate police wrongdoing and “create an atmosphere where the crooked cop fears the honest cop, and not the other way around.”

The WP media column points out that coverage of the Marv Albert trial seems to be filling journalism’s OJ void. For everybody, except, the column reports, the National Enquirer. The tab’s editor is quoted as saying, “We’ve left it to the networks to cover.”