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Inside Politics

House Republicans assail Kerry's economics

From Ted Barrett
CNN Washington Bureau

House Speaker Dennis Hastert is one of the Republicans criticizing John Kerry's economic approach.
House Speaker Dennis Hastert is one of the Republicans criticizing John Kerry's economic approach.

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Congressional Republicans wasted little time Wednesday after Sen. John Kerry's Super Tuesday victories to hammer the economic policies of the Massachusetts Democrat now that he has all but won his party's presidential nomination.

"He's not even trying to be fiscally responsible," said House Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas.

"He is either insincere about his new spending, dishonest about his new taxes, uninterested in the new deficit, or they just didn't teach him arithmetic at the European boarding school that he went to."

"The Kerry plan is simple: Add more money to our national deficit, spend more money here in Washington, raise taxes on job creation," said Speaker Dennis Hastert of Illinois at a news briefing after a meeting of the House Republican Conference on Capitol Hill.

"We don't need a return of the tax and spend days of the old-time Democrats."

But DeLay defended the old-time Democrats in comparison to Kerry.

"Old-school liberals like Walter Mondale and Mike Dukakis actually believed in things. Even if their positions were flawed, the courage of their convictions earned them a seat at the table," DeLay said.

"John Kerry's agenda, on the other hand, is just a joke. He believes in everything and nothing."

Kerry has advocated rolling back the cuts many wealthier Americans received in Bush's tax cut packages. He has said he wants to use the money for health care, education and other programs.

DeLay said job creation would be hurt if the tax cuts were reversed, because doing so would negatively affect many small businesses that might otherwise hire new employees.

He said Kerry's economic plans would "wreck the Bush recovery" and quoted a Washington Post analysis that said Kerry's tax and spending proposals would add $160 billion to the current deficit.

"I firmly believe that American voters, when faced with his reckless ideas for spending and tax hikes, will never allow those ideas to even make it off the drawing board," said Rep. Deborah Pryce of Ohio, the fourth-ranking Republican in the House.

Despite the record spending and deficits that have mushroomed during Republican control of the White House and Congress, the GOP leaders promised they are better suited than Kerry to fix the nation's fiscal problems.

"Senator Kerry criticizes the president and us Republicans for spending too much. Yet his big government, bureaucratic proposals and programs dwarf our budgets of recent years," Pryce said.

"The House Republican leadership refuses to let families and taxpayers pay the brunt of Senator Kerry's backward thinking budget proposals."

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