WASHINGTON — Republican congressional leaders warned President Reagan Tuesday that it would be difficult to sustain a veto of the revived bill requiring advance notice of plant layoffs, but a White House spokesman repeated that a veto is "the most likely course."
Reagan has until Aug. 3 to act on the legislation, a fixture of the Democratic presidential campaign that he had vetoed when it was part of the trade bill he rejected in May. It would require companies to notify their workers at least 60 days in advance of major layoffs or plant shutdowns.
Reagan's options are to sign it, veto it or allow it to become law without his signature. It takes a two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate to override a veto, and both chambers approved the new bill, now separate from the trade measure, by better than two-thirds margins.
"Some urged him to sign it. Some urged him to veto it. There didn't seem to be a consensus," White House spokesman Marlin Fitzwater said after a meeting of the President and Republican congressional leaders.
Fitzwater said allowing the bill to become law without a presidential signature also was discussed.
White House Chief of Staff Kenneth M. Duberstein, talking to reporters in Santa Barbara, Calif., last week, noted that Reagan has already vetoed the plant-closing provision once and "I would suspect that position will be maintained."
When asked about Duberstein's statement, Fitzwater said: "What the chief of staff said was the same thing I have been saying: that a veto is the most likely course, but we won't say for sure . . . ."
The President, speaking with reporters as the meeting began, said he had not decided what to do.