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Clinton repeals limits on ex-staffers' lobbying

President Clinton on Thursday lifted his 1993 ban on former government employees lobbying federal agencies for five years, saying that President-elect Bush's administration won't be giving Democratic employees special access anyway.

An ethics group immediately lambasted Clinton for rescinding the order. Charles Lewis, executive director of the Center for Public Integrity, said Clinton employees assisting in the transition will get to know the new Bush appointees and will be able to use that as a selling point for lobbying.

Senator to try to block

judge's appointment

Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., vowed on Thursday that he would block any effort to give a lifetime judicial appointment to Roger Gregory, the Richmond lawyer whom President Clinton this week temporarily appointed to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Richmond, Va.

Inhofe, who has clashed before with Clinton over recess appointments, called the president's latest use of that authority an abuse of power.

Clinton raises estimate

of 10-year budget surplus

President Clinton on Thursday estimated a $1.9-trillion budget surplus over the next decade, a figure that he said could eliminate the publicly held federal debt by 2010 if there are only moderate tax cuts and modest increases in spending.

The $1.9-trillion surplus estimate for fiscal years 2002 through 2011 contrasts with a $1.5-trillion predicted surplus last summer when the White House budget office last released its 10-year projections, but the figure then was for an earlier period, 2001-2010.

Neither figure includes the big surpluses building in both Social Security and Medicare accounts.

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