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Helms Unreasonable Offer On NZ Ambassador Rejected

Here we go again!! Senator Jesse Helms is now saying he will hold a hearing and vote next week on the appointment of Carol Moseley-Braun as NZ Ambassador, if the Clinton administration provides a vast array of tax and Justice documents. The White House says it is completely unreasonable. John Howard reports.

The White House on Wednesday rejected as "completely unreasonable" the terms of an offer by Senator Jesse Helms for a quick hearing on the NZ ambassadorial nomination of Carol Moseley-Braun. Officials say Helms' request was exhaustive, covering tax and other records of nearly everyone who had worked for her in the Senate or her campaigns.

White House staffer, Joe Lockhart said the request for the sensitive documents could not - and would not - be met. Helms' spokesman, Marc Thiessen, later said the offer " is not a drop-dead deadline" and could be extended "a little."

The stalemate has increased the likelihood that Clinton will have to give her a so-called "recess appointment" as ambassador.

Clinton last used the device to to install James Hormel, an openly gay San Francisco businessmen, as ambassador to Luxembourg earlier this year after Senate conservatives blocked a confirmation vote.

The recess appointment would enable Moseley-Braun to serve - without Senate confirmation - until the end of this Congress when Clinton leaves office. White House officials, however, say it was premature to discuss such proposals.

Meanwhile, Helms yesterday ordered Capitol police to remove several congresswoman from a Senate hearing after they disrupted a meeting by trying to present a letter to him supporting an international treaty against sexual discrimination. Helms continues to block a Senate vote on that 1979 UN Treaty.

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