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Senate Republicans Push Alternative Tax Cut Plan

Lott
Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Sept. 4) -- Senate Republican leaders are pushing a compromise $52 billion tax cut plan that is much smaller than a competing plan under consideration in the House.

The alternative tax package is being pitched to GOP moderates whose votes would be necessary to pass the plan.

Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) this week approached at least one Republican moderate who opposes using projected budget surpluses for tax cuts, a Senate aide told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Lott spokesman John Czwartacki declined comment on conversations between Lott and individual senators, but did tell the AP Lott "continues to fight for the biggest tax cut he can possibly get."

The Senate plan would approximately split the difference between the roughly $80 billion in cuts House Republicans are developing and the $30 billion contained in a budget resolution previously approved by the Senate.

One key sticking point is whether to dip into the projected federal budget surplus of $1.6 trillion over the next 10 years. Both of the new House and Senate packages rely on using that money while the $30 billion figure agreed on earlier would not.

Chafee
Sen. John Chafee

In a recent letter to Lott, five Republican senators, led by Sen. John Chafee (R-R.I.), said they would oppose any plan that goes beyond the $30 billion tax cut.

Without those key GOP votes, Lott would need the support of 10 Democrats to reach the 60 votes necessary under Senate rules to cut off floor debate on a potential tax bill.

After the recent turmoil on the stock market, some lawmakers are becoming nervous about counting on any surplus that is not yet realized.

Sen. Jim Jeffords (R-Vt.) told the AP that he is willing to look at some ideas but does not support use of surplus money.

"I'm just very nervous about the economy," Jeffords said. "I feel very strongly that we shouldn't count on a surplus as being perpetual."

"We want to make sure we don't overreach," added Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine).

President Bill Clinton and most Democrats argue the entire surplus should be reserved to preserve Social Security.

In the House, the plan currently favored is the "Johnson & Johnson" measure. The proposal, named for sponsoring GOP Reps. Nancy Johnson of Connecticut and Sam Johnson of Texas, would reduce taxes by $78 billion over five years.

In Other News

Friday September 4, 1998

Burton Admits Fathering Child During Affair
House Leaders Will Discuss Starr Report
McDougal Trial Will Begin Tuesday
Judge Stays Action On Tripp Filegate Deposition
FEC Wants Clinton-Gore Campaign To Repay Matching Funds
Senate Republicans Push Alternative Tax Cut Plan


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