- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 5, 2000

Overtaxed families will apparently have to vote on behalf of their own interests in this year's presidential election if they want any substantive relief. In the face of the Congressional Budget Office's latest projection of a 10-year, cumulative federal budget surplus totaling $4.6 trillion, President Clinton has blocked two relatively modest tax cuts that were passed by Congress in June and July.
On Thursday Mr. Clinton with the enthusiastic support of Vice President Al Gore vetoed a 10-year, $105 billion tax relief plan that would have phased out the estate and gift tax, known more appropriately as the "death tax." With the support of 65 Democrats, the Republican House overwhelmingly passed a bill to eliminate the estate tax over 10 years by a veto-proof 279-136 majority in June. In July, nine Democratic senators joined their Republican colleagues to pass the measure by a substantial although, unfortunately, a non-veto-proof 59-39 margin.
Mr. Clinton seems to be on a vendetta against the American taxpayer. Earlier in August, he vetoed a bipartisan bill that would have reduced the marriage penalty substantially, by $90 billion over five years. Fifty-one Democrats joined a unanimous Republican contingent to pass this measure in July by a 271-156 margin. Seven Senate Democrats joined Republicans to pass the bill by a 60-34 vote. Unfortunately, neither body managed the two-thirds majority that would be needed to override the president's veto.
In vetoing the marriage penalty relief bill, Mr. Clinton, who had earlier promised to sign it if only Republicans would approve his costly Medicare prescription drug plan, unaccountably criticized the legislation as "the first installment of a fiscally reckless tax strategy." Mr. Gore chimed in that he was for "repealing the marriage tax, but not going beyond working families and not giving tax relief to people who are in the upper brackets." Well, which is it, Mr. Gore? Are you in favor of repealing the marriage tax for all "working families," or not?
While the Republican-controlled House and Senate will surely try to overturn the presidential vetoes so enthusiastically endorsed by the Democratic presidential nominee, they are unlikely to reach the two-third majorities required in each body. Come November, American voters wanting tax relief will have to take all this into account when they cast their ballots.

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