leads with the Treasury Department's announcement that in the wake of last week's hearings, the IRS will hold monthly open houses with taxpayers. The Washington Post goes with the revelation that in more than 100 murder cases, the D.C. police ignored high-quality leads supplied by federal cops. The New York Times goes with Republican doubts about the prospects for President Clinton's fast-track trade bill, and the Los Angeles Times leads with the House's refusal to allow the Census Bureau to use modern statistical methods in the 2000 census.
The USAT IRS lead reports that the open houses for taxpayers with grievances will be monthly Saturday sessions running from 9 to 5. The paper points out that the new measure is part of the Clinton administration's plan to avoid the perception that it is too protective of the agency. Another possible development, says USAT, is that Clinton might propose a major overhaul of the tax system.
The NYT and WP fronts don't mention the open houses. Nor does the Wall Street Journal "Tax Report." On its front, the LAT has only a tiny box "reefer" pointing to the story deep inside.
According to the NYT lead, the Republican leaders of the House and the Senate say that the president's fast-track bill for negotiating global trade accords is in trouble in Congress and it's his fault because he hasn't brought along enough Democrats, many of whom are opposed to new trade bills that don't include stiff labor and environmental provisions. Administration officials tell the paper they see the Republican comments mostly as a negotiating tactic for wringing more concessions out of Clinton on other issues in return for saving the legislation.
The LAT census lead says that the House's vote against allowing sampling techniques in the census might ensure an inaccurate count and cost California a billion dollars in lost revenue. But the piece doesn't adequately explain the Republican animus against sampling. The reason is the fear that, for the purposes of reapportionment and federal revenue distribution, the techniques will help Democrats artificially inflate the numbers of traditionally Democratic minorities and city dwellers, who are hard to reach by traditional head-counting methods.
Both the NYT and LAT fronts report that the French Roman Catholic Church apologized yesterday to the Jewish people for its silence in the face of French collaboration with the Holocaust. The NYT states that the apology was "an expression of remorse more complete, uncompromising and anguished than anything previously pronounced by the church."
A good example of using reporting to break through the generalities of a policy issue is the WSJ's front-page piece about the agony of administrators trying to decide which children should lose their disability payments under the tough new welfare law. Nationwide, the story says, 125,000 children with various developmental and emotional problems must be denied the payments.
Both the NYT and WP have inside stories about how New York Lt. Gov. Elizabeth "Betsy" McCaughey Ross announced yesterday that she was now proud to call herself a Democrat. Ross had already been yanked off the 1998 gubernatorial ticket by Gov. George Pataki. Her perceived inexperience and uncontrollability alienated not just him, but also most other leading Republicans in the state, including Sen. Alfonse D'Amato. Ross had never held elective office before and got the nod mostly on the strength of her New Republic cover story savaging Bill Clinton's health care reform plan, which was widely credited with helping to sink it.
After her announcement, Ross took a "welcoming" phone call from Bill Clinton. The White House says health care reform didn't come up.