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Reagan pushed toward budget compromise

The gravitational pull of Washington politics is drawing President Reagan toward a budget compromise.

The President is being told by his senior advisers that he must work out an accommodation or leave the impression that economic management in the country is in disarray.

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Mr. Reagan now talks as though he is going in the direction of compromise. In fact, he says that negotiations have reached the climactic stage.

But Mr. Reagan is concerned, some observers here say, that any substantial compromise on the budget will be seen as an admission that his economic program is faltering.

Senate majority leader Howard H. Baker Jr. (R) of Tennessee warns that a budget compromise must come soon or Congress will be thrown into an ''absolute jungle of conflict.''

His colleague, Senate Finance Committee chairman Robert Dole (R) of Kansas, said Monday that bipartisan negotiations are in the ''home stretch.'' He said an acceptable compromise may only be a ''few days'' off.

Senator Baker says he thinks the President may accept an income-tax surcharge in order to bring down the national budget deficit, which even the White House concedes will top the $100 billion mark this year. Such a surcharge might become the focus of a compromise package, some political observers here say.

But the worry among GOP leaders is that Reagan may refuse to accept a compromise worked out by his advisers with Congress, on grounds that his economic program might be irreparably damaged.

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