Billings, Mont. — President Reagan, playing political hardball in his drive to win passage of a for the record revenue boost. He pitched the tax increase as basically a ''reform'' program designed to smooth the way for economic recovery.
The night before the President's trip, a House-Senate joint committee conference on the tax bill hit a threatening impasse. The snag was over provisions to cut welfare payments to the poor. The hardball game started when a White House spokesman indicated the President may not be inclined to campaign for Republican members of Congress who oppose the tax increase.