WASHINGTON — Two separate House-Senate conference committees will begin work this week to produce what are likely to be the final pieces of legislation implementing the $30-billon deficit-reduction agreement reached last month by President Reagan and Congress.
After the Senate approved a record $606-billion catchall spending bill early Saturday, Sen. J. Bennett Johnston (D-La.), a key member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and one of the negotiators who produced the deficit reduction plan, predicted that the two sets of House and Senate negotiators could finish their work this week.
However, others remained skeptical, noting that there are many important differences in the legislative spending packages passed by each house.
Non-Military Contra Aid
Probably the most significant difference is that the Senate bill--approved by a 72-21 vote about 3 a.m.--includes $9 million in new non-military aid to Nicaragua's Contras and funds to transport the aid, whereas the bill approved earlier by the House does not provide any aid to the rebels.
The spending package produced by the conferees will cover almost all of the government's budget priorities for fiscal 1988.
Meanwhile, the second House-Senate conference committee will be considering a tax and entitlement bill that makes up the rest of the deficit-reduction agreement between congressional leaders and the President.