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Republican lawmakers and the White House agreed Wednesday to delay negotiations on the remaining budget bills until after Tuesday’s elections, a move that puts reform of the pre-merger notification laws on hold for at least a few more days. The Senate voted Wednesday to adjourn until Nov. 14. The House was expected to follow late in the day. White House officials said President Clinton would sign a continuing resolution to fund the government until lawmakers return. Reform of the Hart-Scott-Rodino antitrust law has been attached to the Commerce, Justice, State appropriations bill, which was approved last week by the House and Senate. However, Clinton has vowed to veto the entire spending bill because it does not contain an immigration amnesty provision. Stefanie Starkey, who handles antitrust policy issues for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said pre-merger notification reform is not expected to be dropped from the legislation, even if lawmakers have to rewrite parts of the CJS appropriations bill to secure Clinton’s support. “I’m pretty confident that considering the business community, the key lawmakers on the Hill and the agencies have agreed to the proposal that it should not be a problem,” Starkey said. The HSR provisions would exempt deals below $50 million from the reporting requirement. The current threshold is $15 million. It also would raise the fee to $125,000 for deals valued between $100 million and $500 million and to $280,000 for deals valued at more than $500 million. A $45,000 fee would continue to be attached to transactions worth between $50 million and $100 million. Copyright (c)2000 TDD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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