Tags: Tax | Cut | Survives | Democrat | Attack

Tax Cut Survives Democrat Attack

Tuesday, 15 May 2001 12:00 AM

The vote of 14 to 6 approved the plan to reduce taxes over the next 11 years - including a reduction in marginal income rates phased in over 10 years and a two-year stimulus package to help spur economic growth immediately.

The Senate will debate the tax cut Thursday, with a final vote scheduled for Monday.

The broad outline of the cut was determined in a recently passed budget agreement, while Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and the ranking Democrat, Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., proffered the plan's specifics.

The cut won the votes of four key moderate Democrats - New Jersey's Sen. Robert Torricelli, Louisiana's Sen. John Breaux, Baucus and Arkansas' Sen. Blanche Lambert Lincoln. With the Democrats' ranks divided, it was not hard for Grassley to defeat each amendment that was offered.

Grassley opened the hearing - which included the participation of both parties' Senate leaders, Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., and Sen. Tom Daschle, D-S.D. - by lauding his own efforts to consider all points of view in developing the bill.

"Among this committee's 20 members, there were many opinions on what's important," he said. "In the end, no one got everything he or she wanted, including the chairman. But I think a lot of us got something we can support."

Grassley said the "chairman's mark" of the tax cut achieved diverse goals and a general rate reduction, and asked for the support of the panel's Democrats.

"This legislation includes individual tax cuts across the board, death tax relief, expanding the child credit, expanding the earned income credit, providing over $30 billion in education incentives and expanding pension protections," he said. "This bill will put a considerable amount of cash back in people's wallets nationwide.

The cut reduces the top income tax rate from 39.9 percent to 36 percent - not the 33 percent preferred by President Bush - and creates a new lowest rate for low-income households of 10 percent.

The 200 or so amendments that members of the committee proposed adding to the bill indicated that there was no total consensus on what the measure should do. In addition, several Democrats offered criticism of the timing, size and scope of the cuts.

Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., agreed with liberal editorials that called the tax cut a "gross abdication of fiscal responsibility" and said the size of the cut would increase to $2.4 trillion before the decade was up.

"In the time of this tax cut," he claimed, "we will move from surpluses to deficits. This is fun, but not fiscally responsible … The tax cut is a monument to fiscal irresponsibility."

Copyright 2001 by United Press International.

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The vote of 14 to 6 approved the plan to reduce taxes over the next 11 years - including a reduction in marginal income rates phased in over 10 years and a two-year stimulus package to help spur economic growth immediately. The Senate will debate the tax cut Thursday, with...
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2001-00-15
Tuesday, 15 May 2001 12:00 AM
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