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Panel To Tackle Social Security

President Clinton is taking another crack Tuesday at holding a White House roundtable on women and Social Security.

The event was first scheduled for last Friday, but was scrubbed when Mideast peace talks ran into overtime.

The conference will highlight the important role that Social Security plays for women retirees. That's because women often live longer than men, and they've earned less. Many women don't stay in a job long enough to qualify for a company pension plan.

The conference comes just a week before the mid-term elections, in which how to revamp Social Security for baby boomers is a key issue.

The White House says Tuesday's conference will be beamed via satellite to audiences in 10 U.S. cities.

In a CBS radio interview Tuesday morning, Labor Secretary Alexis Herman said President Clinton will use the 2 p.m. EST conference to announce a proposal that would allow workers to count any time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act toward pension and 401K eligibility.

Herman says, "Election or no election, we need to get the word out" on Social Security, and she explains that the confernece "is an opportune moment to get that message out more aggressively."

Rep. Karen Thurman, D-Fla., who is among women Democrats in Congress asking Mr. Clinton to speak up for women's interests, said, "This gives them an opportunity to really talk about what their needs are."

The president also is preparing to host a conference on Social Security's future with congressional Republicans at the White House on Dec. 8 and 9.

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