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Republicans intend to bring the issue of a formal impeachment inquiry to the House floor within the next two weeks, GOP sources said. Democrats were suggesting a lesser punishment for President Clinton, perhaps censure along with a financial penalty. House Speaker Newt Gingrich rejected such talk, and Judiciary Committee chairman Henry Hyde (R) of Illinois said he hoped his panel would vote on whether to hold an impeachment inquiry by early next month, with hearings possibly starting after the November elections. (Related story, Page 4; related opinion, Page 11.)
Former President Jimmy Carter predicted the GOP majority in the House would vote to impeach Clinton, but that the Senate would not be able to marshall a two-thirds vote to remove him. Carter made the comment in discussion with students at Emory University in Atlanta. Meanwhile, Clinton received a ringing endorsement from South African President Nelson Mandela, who called the him the friend of the great mass of black people and minorities and the disabled of the United States. Mandela spoke at a White House reception for African-American religious and education leaders.
A plan to raise the minimum wage to $6.15 an hour from $5.15 by 2000 was rejected by the Senate, disappointing the White House but pleasing business leaders and key Republicans. On a 55-to-44 vote, the Senate indefinitely postponed debate of an increase, which proponents tried to attach to a bankruptcy-reform bill.
Former Attorney General Ramsey Clark said the US wanted an excuse to strike Sudan last month and the decision to bomb a pharmaceutical plant there was strictly political. He made the accusation to reporters after returning from Sudan, where he led an International Action Center fact-finding mission to the factory destroyed by cruise missiles Aug. 20.
The months-old slide in farm prices has pretty much bottomed out, Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman said. An updated forecast by the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute at the University of Missouri indicated crop and livestock prices will improve slightly next year and farm income will return to strong levels in 2000. Farm income was forecast to plunge 12 percent this year. Earlier this week the Clinton administration proposed $7.3 billion in aid to farmers, chiefly through larger crop supports. Last week, Republicans offered $3.9 billion, half in bonus payments to offset a drop in farm exports. Both packages earmark about $2 billion for disaster relief. (Related story, Page 1.)
Up to 100,000 people were ordered to evacuate the Florida Keys, and forecasters issued a hurricane watch for the southern part of the state. As hurricane Georges moved northwest in the Caribbean, Gov. Lawton Chiles (D) declared an emergency to allow for use of National Guard troops and lift tolls along evacuation routes. The storm had already killed more than 20 people in the Caribbean, 12 of them in the Dominican Republic. Damage estimates in Puerto Rico were in excess of $1 billion. Georges was said to threaten both Cuba and Florida and could reach the latter as early as tonight.
Clinton wants an immediate increase in military spending and is asking advisers to make a case for a bigger long-term budget, published reports indicated. In a letter made available to The Washington Post and The New York Times, the president suggested an immediate boost in outlays to address parts shortages and asked the Pentagon to help develop a revised budget for fiscal 2000 to take care of longer-range needs.
The Pentagon has approved a proposed sale of $5 billion worth of warplanes to Israel, Defense Department officials said. The purchase is expected to include 60 F-16C/Ds and 30 F-15Is, many with low-altitude navigation and night-targeting capabilities. The Pentagon also said it had approved the sale of $245 million worth of rocket and missile systems to Greece.
An estimated 20,000 new refugees were fleeing Albanian towns in central Kosovo as Serbian forces pressed their offensive for a second straight day. As fighting continued, NATO defense ministers meeting in Portugal were discussing a new series of punitive air strikes against targets important to Yugoslav President Milosevic, who unleashed the Kosovo crackdown. In New York, the UN Security Council was preparing to vote on a resolution on the use of force unless Milosevic agreed to serious negotiations with the Albanian majority in Kosovo.