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CLINTON OUTLINES RESTRUCTURING PLAN

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Hoping to make a down payment on his middle-income tax cut proposal, President Clinton on Monday unveiled plans to restructure five federal agencies and save $24 billion over five years.

The tax cut, aimed primarily at families earning less than $75,000, would cost $60 billion.The White House on Monday released a vague outline of his budget-cutting plans. They include:

- Create a consolidated infrastructure grant of more than $11 billion a year and allocate the money to states and local governments for roads, bridges and other transportation needs.

- Make the Federal Aviation Administration's air traffic control system a quasi-private corporation. Safety features would remain under federal jurisdiction.

- Consolidate some 60 Housing and Urban Development programs into four and give housing vouchers for families and individuals to use for housing of their choice.

- Make the Federal Housing Administration, a Depression-era body that guarantees mortgages, a quasi-independent entity.

- Terminate the clean-coal program at the Energy Department and privatize the Naval Petroleum Reserve.

- Sell uranium no longer needed for national defense after rendering it suitable for commercial power reactors.

Clinton's primary targets are the departments of Energy, Transportation and Housing and Urban Development - along with the Office of Personnel Management and the General Services Administration.

The statement said most of the money would come from the Energy Department, which would lose $10.6 billion over five years. In a sign of how far Clinton is from nailing down his budget cuts, the statement said $4.5 billion in cuts will come from "other" programs.

Much of what Clinton was presenting Monday stems from Vice President Al Gore's "reinventing government" initiative aimed at streamlining the bureaucracy. Many other proposals were made public in the days leading up to Clinton's address to the nation last week.

But the White House hopes the magnitude of the reductions will convince Congress and constituents that Clinton is serious about carving the fat out of government.

Making the rounds of TV talk shows three days after Clinton's address, several Republicans promised a more aggressive set of budget cuts to pay for their pricier middle-class tax cut.

"I'm not going to even consider what tax cuts we're going to do until I see budget cuts that will match them," Sen. Bob Packwood, R-Ore., said Sunday on NBC.

Even Democrats wonder about how serious Clinton is about cutting spending.

Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, D-N.Y., said of Clinton's tax-cutting plan: "I'll go along because this is support-your-president week - if they're paid for."

Clinton says he can cut $76 billion from the federal budget in five years to pay for his program, saving $16 billion for deficit reduction. But $52 billion of the cuts are unspecified and would not take effect until 1999 and 2000.

That leaves $24 billion in agency cuts that Clinton outlined Monday. He also will give Gore 90 days to come up with more cuts for future budgets.

Administration officials, speaking on condition of anonymity Sunday, said Clinton has a long list of ideas to eliminate, reduce or sell off government programs that go beyond Monday's announcement, including:

- Transportation would cut its staff roughly in half over five years, from 106,000 to 54,000, and would consolidate its 10 agencies into three. That would save about $6.7 billion over five years.

Potential Losers: Amtrak, whose federal subsidy would be trimmed by $500 million this year and potentially eliminated in five years. The air traffic control system would become a government-run corporation, taking 40,000 employees off the federal payroll. Federal outlays for infrastructure, like roads and bridges, would be reduced by about $5 billion over five years - with states given more flexibility for spending the money.

- Energy would trim $10.6 billion in its annual budget.

Potential Losers: The rest of the money would come from various programs, including those that help poor people winterize their homes, promote scientific research and pay for cleanup at nuclear weapons plants.

- HUD would cut about $700 million from its nearly $30 billion budget, consolidating 60 programs into a handful of block grants to cities. Local governments could take over some of HUD's duties, such as maintaining housing projects or providing rent supplements to poor families.

Potential Losers: Mayors whose cities benefit from the HUD money fear the "mega-block grant" concept will lead to overall reductions of housing aid.