Bush begins all-out effort on tax plan
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- U.S. President George W. Bush begins an all-out effort Monday to sell his 10-year, $1.6 trillion across-the-board tax cut plan to some skeptical lawmakers.
Lawrence Lindsey, Bush's economic adviser, said the president "absolutely" supports making a tax cut retroactive to January 1 this year and "accelerating" the cut, in light of the sagging economy, to speed up benefits to taxpayers.
"The economic circumstances have changed," Lindsey told "Fox News Sunday."
"The members of Congress who came up to meet with the president this week all said so, and they want to see an acceleration of the tax cut, and so does the president."
An administration official, said the president will "indicate he supports making it retroactive and intends to work with Congress on it," but that the plan Bush will send to Congress on Thursday is the one he outlined during the presidential campaign.
Four families to join Bush
Bush will be joined Monday by four families, each of whom would fall into the four lower income tax brackets proposed by Bush, his aides said.
The president's proposal would cut the lowest income tax rate to 10 percent and the highest to 33 percent. The plan would change the five-rate income tax structure -- currently 15, 28, 31, 36, and 39.6 per cent -- to four lower rates, 10, 15, 25, and 33 percent.
On Tuesday the president is scheduled to visit small businesses in the Washington area to discuss how his plan would help create jobs.
The following day, the president plans to host a reunion of the so-called "tax-cut families" he highlighted throughout the presidential campaign to explain what his proposal would mean for families around the country.
Bush will send the "general outlines" of his tax cut proposal to Capitol Hill Thursday, said Ari Fleischer, the White House press secretary.
"The plan he is putting forth is what he outlined during the campaign," said Scott McClellan, a Bush spokesman.
Democrats say plan too big
In addition to an across-the-board cut in marginal tax rates over 10 years, Bush's plan would double the child tax credit to $1,000, reduce the tax penalty on married couples, eliminate the so-called "death tax" on inheritances, expand the charitable tax deduction, and make the research and development tax credit permanent, Bush aides said.
As an example, a family of four making $40,000 would keep at least $1,600 more a year under the president's plan, Lindsey said.
"That $40,000-a-year family with two kids could really use that $1,600 to retire that credit card debt, make a down payment on a car, and that's what we really want to see happen," said Lindsey.
But Democrats argue the president's plan is too large, threatening the federal budget surplus, and too generous to the wealthy.
"Forty-three per cent of the benefit goes to the wealthiest one per cent, those who are making $900,000 a year," said Sen. Kent Conrad, D-North Dakota. "There is no fairness in that."
But Democrats are willing to accept a larger tax cut that they supported during the presidential campaign in the range of $700 to $900 billion, targeting the lower and middle class, and devoting more money to domestic spending and debt reduction.
Some Republicans want bigger cut in taxes
As for Republicans, some lawmakers have been pushing an even larger tax cut than the one Bush is proposing. That come s in light of a federal budget surplus $1 trillion larger than originally predicted and the boosting of the tax cut idea cuts by Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan.
But Bush's economic advisers say the plan the president will send to Congress on Thursday is set firm at $1.6 trillion.
"No more, no less," said Lindsey.
In addition to trying to drum up support for his tax cut plan Monday, Bush will travel to the Commerce Department for the ceremonial swearing in of his long-time friend Don Evans as commerce secretary.
The president also plans to have his weekly meeting with Secretary of State Colin Powell, and he will host the first international leader to visit the White House since Bush took office, Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien.
Some Democrats wary of another Bush visit
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