Joe Hill, Meet The Newt

LABOR LAWS? A REPUBLICAN Congress? Not in the same breath. GOP legislators want to scrub the nation's labor rules, which they paint as outdated and inflationary. Their blitz began on Feb. 15 when committees in both Houses held hearings to attack the 64-year-old Davis-Bacon Act, which critics say makes Uncle Sam pay union wages on construction jobs. Lawmakers also aimed at a rule that sets minimum wages on federal service contracts. The Administration opposes the changes, saying the measures help maintain fair wages--but the President stopped short of promising a veto if Congress repeals the laws. "He'd have to see what the law says," a Labor Dept. aide says.