Tags: Senate | OKs | Bush | Budget | Tax | Cut

Senate OKs Bush Budget, Tax Cut

Thursday, 10 May 2001 12:00 AM

The budget outline allocates $2 billion in discretionary spending for the next fiscal year, including a 4.9 percent increase in spending for most programs. It also cuts taxes over a 10-year period by $1.25 trillion and establishes a separate immediate tax cut of $100 billion over the next two years to stimulate the economy to help alleviate the economic slowdown.

Although Democrats argue that the tax cut is too large and unfairly tilted to the highest income brackets, Republicans counter that the budget surplus has grown beyond a fair level and that families deserve a refund. Pennsylvania Republican Rick Santorum, chairman of the party conference, said the cuts were fair and equal for all taxpayers.

"I am pleased that the Senate approved the president's budget," he said. "The passage of this common-sense budget plan not only reduces taxes for every taxpayer, but it also gives our economy the much-needed boost it needs to create and maintain jobs."

The two Republicans who spurred the presidential budget plan - Rhode Island's Sen. Lincoln Chafee and Vermont's Sen. Jim Jeffords - claimed a lack of funding for education, particularly because Congress and Bush are negotiating a broad education-reform package that they claim will not be funded under the budget.

"I am greatly troubled by certain elements in this budget and will vote against the fiscal year 2002 budget resolution report now before the Senate," Jeffords said just prior to the final vote. "In approving this budget, Congress is missing a significant opportunity to address some of our nation's most critical needs. Key among these needs is education."

The loss of Jeffords and Chafee was offset by five Democrat defections: Nebraska's Sen. Ben Nelson, Louisiana's Sen. John Breaux, Georgia's Sens. Max Cleland and Zell Miller, and Montana's Sen. Max Baucus.

Miller was never in doubt as he has supported the tax-cut proposal since its introduction, but Breaux was in play until a phone call from Bush last night. Breaux told United Press International that the last-minute lobbying, $1.25 trillion tax-cut figure and maintenance of the stimulus package as independent persuaded him to support the president.

Without Breaux - whose vote also likely delivered Cleland and Nelson - the plan would have had trouble passing the Senate.

The debate will now move to the Senate Finance Committee, where ranking minority member Baucus and Chairman Charles Grassley of Iowa will determine the form of the tax cut and the stimulus package, in consultation with the evenly divided committee.

Copyright 2001 by United Press International.

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The budget outline allocates $2 billion in discretionary spending for the next fiscal year, including a 4.9 percent increase in spending for most programs. It also cuts taxes over a 10-year period by $1.25 trillion and establishes a separate immediate tax cut of $100...
Senate,OKs,Bush,Budget,,Tax,Cut
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2001-00-10
Thursday, 10 May 2001 12:00 AM
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