POLITICS OF GOP'S BUDGET CUTS ARE COMPLEX; VIEWS MANY-SIDED Series: The Contract and You This Is Another in a Series of Occasional Stories on How Legislation Coming out of the Republican Contract with America Might Affect You and Your Community

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AS LINDA JACKSON cooks dinner for her five boys, she wonders whether they'll ever escape the dim hallways, the smelly stairwells and the sporadic gunfire of the Darst-Webbe housing project.

As Ann Haffner makes her rounds in suburban Kirkwood, she talks about empowering families through Parents As Teachers, a program that teaches adults to parent and helps toddlers to learn.

As Marsha Stewart waits on the wooden bleachers at the Wohl Center to sign up son Corey for a federally funded summer job, she hopes she can keep the promising teen-ager off the summer streets.

Last month, the House of Representatives voted to cut money out of the programs that fuel these women's hopes. To pay for disaster relief in California and some of the tax cuts in the Contract with America, House Republicans cut $17.3 billion from the budget that the last Congress had approved - recisions they are called.

The House's cuts would take back the money that St. Louis was counting on to tear down part of Darst-Webbe and rebuild it. They would stunt the expansion of the Missouri-born Parents As Teachers program to other parts of the country. And, they would remove all the federal summer job money this year and next.

A slightly more modest Senate version would restore money for all three programs. Still, Democrats have tied up that $15 billion reduction in spending for more than a week on the Senate floor. They object to its cuts in Head Start, education reform, drug-free schools, public broadcasting and President Bill Clinton's national service program.

On Wednesday evening, it looked as though the Senate had worked out a compromise, but Senate Democrats rejected it Thursday, and the deadlock continued.

Democrats have labeled the cuts heartless. …