A Cabinet Member Admits He Has a `Nanny Problem'

KIMBA WOOD and Zoe Baird aren't the only people in politics with "nanny problems." Commerce Secretary Ronald Brown acknowledged Sunday that he settled an overdue tax bill last month after failing to pay a part-time housekeeper's Social Security taxes for at least four years.

Mr. Brown said on NBC's "Meet the Press" that he had not thought any Social Security taxes were due because the housekeeper worked for him only about three hours a week.

The White House sought to draw a distinction between Brown's case and that of Judge Wood and Ms. Baird, who were forced to withdraw from consideration as attorney general nominees after their hiring of illegal aliens was revealed.

"I don't think they're comparable situations," said White House communications director George Stephanopoulos. He said Brown "made amends" before the issue became public. No more Freedom?

The space station Freedom may be on the endangered-species list. As President Clinton tries to reduce the federal budget deficit, White House officials are considering canceling the planned space station, which has already cost $8 billion for design and testing. Another giant science project that may be cut is the $8.2 billion superconducting super collider.

Perhaps in an effort to make such cuts - as well as possible Social Security reductions - more palatable, Mr. Clinton wants to reduce the White House staff. The Washington Post reported Sunday that about 20 lower-level workers in the White House office that deals with letters, telephone calls, and other public communication already have been given layoff notices. More layoffs may be announced today. See you in Washington

Have you heard this lately? "I can't talk, I'm being considered for a top job in the Clinton administration?" If not, you haven't been calling America's leading universities, where it seems virtually every professor is hoping that he or she will receive the call to Washington.

In the most curious instance of "Washingtonitis," a professor at a top East Coast university made an appointment one day to talk with a reporter. However the next day he called back and canceled the meeting, saying, "I can't talk. I might be going to Washington. Give me a call in a few weeks once I see what happens."

Did he get a job offer overnight from the president? Or was he only keeping his options open?

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