CAREENING toward a pre-Christmas windup of its year-long session, what may be the most delinquent Congress in U.S. history last week took time out for a classic confrontation between legislative and executive branches. The issue was inflation.

Two weeks ago, the President bitterly attacked Congress for its inflationary tendencies and threatened to veto the "Christmas tree" tax bill. Last week he added the massive Labor and Health, Education and Welfare appropriations bill and a relatively minor coalmine-safety bill to his possible veto list. Said Nixon in a letter to Republican congressional leaders: "I cannot at this critical point in the battle against...

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