Tax Committee Passes GOP Plan
But a provision to tax Indian casinos fails
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, June 13) -- Voting along partisan lines, the House tax writing committee brushed back a slew of Democratic amendments and approved a GOP-backed $85 billion tax-cut package, while omitting a provision backed by the chairman.
Since Monday, when House Ways and Means chairman Bill Archer (R-Texas) announced the five-year package, the White House and congressional Democrats have sought to portray the plan as favoring America's wealthy. But minus a $1.9 billion levy on Indian casinos which was defeated, the measure survived intact.
On a vote of 22-16, the committee retained a broad-based capital-gains tax cut, estate-tax relief, and credits for higher education. Earlier in the week, Archer dropped plans to reduce the minimum corporate tax and beefed up the estate credit.
In addition to dozens of failed Democratic amendments, an alternative tax package sponsored by the committee's ranking Democrat, Charles Rangel of New York, was also defeated along party lines. Rangel's bill, with a scaled-back capital-gains tax cut and more general education tax credits, was intended to move the House bill closer to the Clinton Administration's tax proposals.
Six Republicans joined the Democrats, however, to defeat the Indian gaming provision with an amendment offered by Arizona Republican J.D. Hayworth. Archer had suggested the levy, citing the enormous business generated by Indian casinos, but amendment supporters said considerations other than economics should prevail.
"Do not think about revenue. Think about history, think about fairness," urged Rep. Barbara Kennelly (D-Conn.).
In other votes, the committee rejected a proposed 29-cent cigarette tax hike to fund health insurance for impoverished children. And, on an issue that pitted farm-state lawmakers against oil-state lawmakers, they eliminated the 54-cent-per-gallon ethanol subsidy.
Whether the ethanol provision would survive House consideration was in doubt. The overall package has not yet been scheduled for a full House vote.
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