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Tax-cut figure will rise, Republicans say

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Congressional conference committees will likely raise the tax-cut figure, Warner says  

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Republicans predicted Sunday that President Bush will get even more of his proposed tax cut through Congress once House and Senate negotiators work out differences between their respective plans.

The Senate approved Friday an approximate $1.3 trillion tax cut, spread out across 10 years. Bush had sought a $1.6 trillion cut, a figure supported by the House in its vote.

Sen. John Warner, R-Virginia, said the final tax-cut figure would likely increase in the conference committee that reconciles the House and Senate versions.

"I think it will be a bigger playing field with the dollars," Warner told CNN's "Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer."

One Democrat concurred. "I think the numbers are going to go up," said Sen. Joe Biden, D-Delaware, speaking on ABC's "This Week."

Democrats sought to portray Friday's vote in the Senate as a loss for Bush and some Democratic leader said Republicans would be mistaken if they pushed for more in the way of tax relief.

"I think there are some, unfortunately, in the House that are talking about bringing it right back up to 1.6 [trillion]," Sen. John Breaux, D-Louisiana, said on ABC. "I think that would be a mistake because that cannot pass if it came back to the Senate in that fashion. I think obviously there's room to negotiate here."

Sen. Carl Levin, D-Michigan, said Republicans would have to address Democratic concerns that the Bush plan takes $50 billion out of the Medicare surplus to help pay for the tax cut.

"And when that conference meets, they are going to have to deal with that issue because it is wrong to use the Medicare surplus to fund that tax cut that the president did get," Levin said on CNN.



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