BUSH, CONGRESS MAY COMPROMISE ON JOBLESS BILL

The administration has signaled willingness to discuss a possible compromise with congressional Democrats on the bill to extend unemployment benefits, according to House Speaker Thomas Foley.President Bush has rejected two previous bills sent to him by Congress, but the administration now "is talking about possible compromise language," Representative Foley (D) of Washington, told reporters Tuesday. "We're going to explore that." A third bill was drafted last week and scheduled for consideration by the House Rules Committee Tuesday, but the measure was pulled from the agenda to allow time for negotiations with the White House. The administration signal that a compromise is possible marks the second time in less than a week that Bush has retreated from hard-line opposition to major Democratic-sponsored bills. Last week he agreed to compromise language that clears the way for the Senate to pass the civil rights bill. The Democrats have pushed bills that would provide an additional 20 weeks of unemployment pay for jobless workers who have exhausted their regular 26 weeks of state benefits. Their new bill was scaled back somewhat, providing for up to 13 weeks of additional benefits. Bush previously backed a Republican substitute that would extend jobless benefits for up to 10 weeks.

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