White House Shuffles Communications Duties

WHITE House Deputy chief of staff Mark Gearan will become the Clinton administration's new communication's director, succeeding George Stephanopoulos, a senior administration official told a reporter. Mr. Gearan will brief reporters several afternoons a week while press secretary Dee Dee Myers will continue to handle morning briefings. Stephanopoulos will become a senior Clinton adviser. Gearan is a former director of the Democratic Governors Association, he managed Vice President Al Gore's campaign and later served as deputy transition director. David Gergen is the recently appointed presidential counselor. Moynihan warns on budget

Sen. Daniel Moynihan (D) of New York, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, predicts more spending cuts and a scaled-back energy tax in President Clinton's economic package - but he also said Sunday he's ready to bypass his own committee if conservative Democrats try to block the bill.

Democrats hold only an 11-to-9 edge and a tie vote would kill it. Republicans are so far united against the package.

Mr. Moynihan said entitlement programs such as Medicare and Medicaid must be cut further to make up for revenue lost because of a scaled-back tax. Lawmakers are currently looking at an additional $51 billion in spending cuts over five years, including $35 billion from Medicare, Moynihan said. He added it was unclear how those cuts would be achieved but noted that he has ruled out increased premiums for higher-income recipients. Mr. Clinton met yesterday with Moynihan and Senate majority leader George Mit chell (D) of Maine to work on details. Clinton ready to name high-court justice

The president, eager to put the abandonment of Lani Guinier behind him, is telling aides he plans to announce his choice for the coming Supreme Court vacancy this week, to replace retiring Justice Byron White. The selection, which could come today, likely will be made from a handful of candidates who are considered centrists, consensus-builders, and safe picks for Clinton's first high court vacancy. The ever-changing list always includes Secretary of Interior Bruce Babbitt and First Circuit Court of Appe als Judge Stephen Breyer of Boston.

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