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Nation in brief

Congress rushes to fix tax cut plan

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published June 3, 2003

WASHINGTON - Stung by criticism that the new tax cut law gives short shrift to the working poor, some congressional Republicans pushed Monday for a quick legislative fix to expand benefits for low-income families with children.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, said he would introduce a bill Tuesday that would give millions of low-income families the $400-per-child refunds they are not given under the law President Bush signed last week.

A bipartisan group of senators on Monday unveiled a similar bill, which would provide the refunds to families earning between roughly $10,500 and $26,625.

Study details plans for new U.S. nuclear factory

WASHINGTON - The Bush administration, which got congressional approval last month to study "low yield" nuclear weapons for battlefield use, is planning a factory that can produce explosives for new kinds of nuclear weapons.

A new $2-billion to $4-billion factory called the "Modern Pit Facility" is needed to fabricate plutonium warhead cores, the Energy Department said in a draft environmental study made public Monday (

The facility would provide "sufficient capability to maintain, long term, the nuclear deterrent that is a cornerstone of U.S. national security policy," the statement declared.

Elsewhere . . .

JUDGE WON'T DISMISS STATE SNIPER CHARGES: A Virginia judge refused Monday to dismiss state charges against sniper suspect Lee Boyd Malvo because of an alleged overlap with federal charges.

MAN TRIED IN SHUTTLE DEBRIS CASE: The federal trial of Robert Hagan II, 46, charged with stealing debris from Columbia, began Monday in Texas. If convicted Hagan could face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

VAIL, COLO., HOMES FLOOD: Residents of more than 200 homes pumped water Monday after a raging creek broke through an underground culvert, sending water into the neighborhood and opening up a 22-foot-wide sinkhole in Colorado's main east-west highway.

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