WASHINGTON -- President Clinton sought to shore up support in the House for his $343 billion deficit-reduction package yesterday as conservative Democrats criticized its broad-based energy tax and continued to push for entitlement caps.

"I think the program is picking up steam again," Clinton said as he emerged from a meeting with Democratic lawmakers. He commended the House Ways and Means Committee for producing a bill last week that "confirms, reinforces, and in some ways improves" upon his own proposals.

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