U.S. Senate Republicans and the White House dug in yesterday for a battle over a proposal to cut taxes by $792 billion over 10 years, casting doubt that a compromise will be hammered out anytime soon. The Senate is preparing to start debate Wednesday on the sweeping Republican measure, which would cut income and estate taxes and encourage Americans to save more for retirement.
Tax cuts are a key political ground for Republicans as well as Democrats. Republicans say the $792 bill will help define the party and galvanize voters against Vice President Al Gore, the Democratic front-runner in next year’s presidential race.
The White House, by contrast, is counting on a voter backlash against the Republican plan, saying it would cater to the rich and big business. They point to polls showing Americans favor shoring up the Social Security retirement system and the Medicare health care program.
President Clinton has vowed to veto the Senate bill and its counterpart in the House of Representatives, as well as a $500 billion compromise favored by a few Democrats and moderate Republicans.
- Matt Gardner, policy analyst, Citizens for Tax Justice.
- Diana Furchtgott-Roth, fellow, American Enterprise Institute.