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Federal File: Phillips on the move?; Banning bubbles

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Bill R. Phillips, chief of staff to Secretary of Education Lauro F. Cavazos, is said to be pondering a move to the Office of Personnel Management.

When asked about the rumor last week, Mr. Phillips did not deny that he was being considered for a job at opm But, he said, "there are no announcements brewing."

"You know how this business is," he mused. "Someone is always being looked at for something else."

"I'm here and plan to be here for the foreseeable future," he said, but added: "My record is such that the foreseeable future is not very long."

Before joining the Education Department, Mr. Phillips helped manage last year's Republican National Convention.

Prior to that, he served as chief of staff to Frank J. Fahrenkopf Jr., then chairman of the Republican National Committee. He was also the executive director of a political-action committee chaired by George Bush.

Some have suggested that Mr. Phillips's appointment was engineered by the Reagan White House--an assertion Mr. Cavazos has denied.

"Ever since I've been in this business, I've been hearing rumors like these," Mr. Phillips said last week. "I guess the good news is that it's not about my conduct."


The Agriculture Department published regulations May 1 that may help any school officials who can't decide which drinks are properly classified "soda"--and are thus banned by federal rules from being sold in school cafeterias at lunch time.

The upshot of a dense, two-page entry in the Federal Register is that school-lunch rules now include the following definition: "a class of beverages made by absorbing carbon dioxide in potable water."

Why waste regulatory time, energy, and paper on this?

Because in January the Food and Drug Administration completed a two-year effort to delete from federal regulations the definition of "soda water."

According to the fda's Federal Register notice, some of its provisions "are being adequately dealt with by other regulations, while other provisions are no longer necessary."

One reason for the move was to eliminate requirements that "cola" beverages include caffeine, reflecting the recent popularity of caffeine-free beverages.

Because regulations for the lunch program referred to the now-defunct fda standard, the Agriculture Department was forced to publish its own soda-water standard in order to keep the effervescent libations on the forbidden list.--jm

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