Wednesday, February 17, 1993 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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President Clinton Blows A Fuse

Times News Services

Despite President Clinton's aura of confidence, the tension he is under is taking its toll. At a Washington, D.C., construction site yesterday, planned as a photo opportunity to showcase him with construction workers, he blew up when an aide barred two local politicians from joining him.

"Come on. Come on. Listen, goddamn it. Come here. You can't do that. You can't take me out here with a mayor and a congresswoman and push them back," he said to the young aide.

-- Health plan by May? Hillary Rodham Clinton told members of Congress yesterday that the administration hopes to have a health-care proposal by May, and the White House acknowledged that it is considering more taxes to pay for it.

In her second trip to Capitol Hill, Clinton met separately with Democrats and Republicans. As expected, she got a warm welcome from her own party but was met with some skepticism by Republican members.

"We tried to tell her about individual responsibility as the core of health care," said Rep. Fred Grandy, R-Iowa. "We talked about reform, as opposed to government responsibility, to cut costs."

Also brought up was the topic of global budgeting, in which the government would set the overall cost for health care and then try to hold all the country's health expenditures - for doctors, hospitals, drugs and everything else - under that figure.

"Global budgeting may be a budget director's dream, but it won't make a hospital work," Grandy said. Several Republicans also questioned the May deadline for producing a plan, and Grandy said it would be better "to get it right than to get it done."

Earlier, the White House confirmed a report that the administration is looking into more taxes as a way to pay for the health-care program.

An internal memo includes the possibility of taxing premiums collected by insurance companies, taxing health-care benefits above a certain level, imposing an additional corporate tax or raising taxes on alcohol, tobacco and pollutants.

-- Promise of worker training broken. Labor Secretary Robert Reich says the Clinton administration won't push for legislation requiring corporations to provide worker training - a retreat from one of President Clinton's campaign promises.

"At this particular point in time, I'm not convinced that a mandate is appropriate," Reich said yesterday after meeting with the nation's labor leaders.

Copyright (c) 1993 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.


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