The Disaster Bill Disaster

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WASHINGTON, D.C.: "In some ways, this is a kind of revenge for Republicans," TIME's Jef McAllister notes as the GOP sends a disaster relief bill to the White House that the President is sure to veto. "Clinton outmaneuvered them before the recess and made it look like they were the ones who held up the disaster relief bill. That was largely true, but of course it always takes two to tango. But either way, the Republicans are mad about that and now they want to try and stick it back to him." Although nearly everyone favors the $8.6 billion measure providing federal relief for victims of natural disasters in 35 states, the White House is fuming over two Republican riders. The first would deprive Clinton of one of his most potent allies in last year's budget talks by preventing a government shutdown regardless of whether the White House and Congress reach agreement on regular spending bills. The second would ban the Census Bureau from using sampling techniques in the 2000 census that Republicans say are of dubious constitutionality and fear would result in greater representation for cities -- and more Democrats in Congress. "Both Clinton and the GOP will be hurt because this situation makes them look like they're doing just the opposite of what was promised in the '96 election, which was to compromise and get things done," McAllister notes. "But Clinton has in general portrayed himself as the more reasonable member of any tango in the last year in a half. Because of that, he will probably receive a little more good will."