- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 10, 2002

House Republican leaders plan to offer a new package of tax cuts in the next few weeks designed to stimulate the economy more than they believe the economic stimulus bill President Bush signed yesterday will, Majority Whip Tom DeLay announced yesterday.
"We want to make permanent the death tax [repeal]. We want to make permanent the marriage tax repeal. I have a bill that repeals the Clinton tax on Social Security, gives seniors currently retired a zero capital gains [tax] and cuts taxes on their retirement benefits," the Texas Republican said in an interview on CNN's "Saturday Edition with Jonathan Karl."
"We're going to put together another package that will come out in the next month or so, because we think the American people are paying too many taxes," Mr. DeLay said. "We think we can do more to get this economy growing again."
Asked by a viewer from Knoxville, Tenn., how Congress will be able to cut taxes, keep the budget under control and finance a war on terrorism without triggering huge deficits, Mr. DeLay said, "That's pretty simple. The American taxpayer is paying too much in taxes, and the tax breaks that we are talking about are tax breaks like lowering capital gains or lowering the marginal rates that will stimulate the economy, that will put more capital in the markets, which means there are more jobs, which means there are more people paying taxes, which means there is more revenue coming into the government."
Mr. DeLay said nothing positive about a stripped-down economic stimulus bill, passed by Congress Friday and signed into law yesterday. Closer to what Democrats proposed last year than to what Mr. Bush and other Republicans wanted, the bill extends unemployments benefits and cuts taxes for businesses.
Mr. DeLay said yesterday that Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, South Dakota Democrat, "deserves credit for killing real stimulus." Mr. Daschle blocked Senate action on earlier Republican-backed recession relief measures passed by the House,
"Real stimulus," said Mr. DeLay, is "lowering the marginal tax rate down to 25 percent" and "giving corporate America and business America the kind of capital that they would need to invest in more jobs." The marginal rate refers to the tax on the highest portion of income.
Mr. DeLay recalled that the House has passed tax cuts every year since Republicans took control in 1995, and he's confident that passage will happen again this year. He said he's also optimistic the Democratic-controlled Senate will pass the new tax cuts, because it's an election year and a "very popular president" will support the package.
"You're going to have some Democrats in the Senate that are running for re-election," Mr. DeLay said. "… I think their constituents will tell them they would like to see the income tax on Social Security repealed; they would like to have an opportunity to use their retirement funds to take care of themselves; and they would like to see the marriage penalty [repeal] made permanent."
"So I think we can build a momentum out there that will get Democrats up for re-election talking pretty strongly to Mr. Daschle," Mr. DeLay said.
If Republicans retain control of the House in the November general election, Mr. DeLay is expected to move up to majority leader and succeed Rep. Dick Armey, another Texas Republican, who is retiring. In the CNN interview, the prospective leader was asked about the situation in the Middle East and whether the United States should pressure Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to engage in a cease-fire and return to the negotiating table.
"Not at all. … That would send a contradictory message to the world," said Mr. DeLay. "When terrorists attack American citizens, we go after them wherever we find them … and we can't go back into Israel and say, 'Mr. Sharon, you shouldn't go after terrorists that are attacking your people.'"
The Israeli prime minister is "doing the right thing," said Mr. DeLay. "We can never get to peace in Israel or anywhere around the world until we stop terrorists. And we should be supporting Israel and supporting Sharon in stopping terrorists wherever we find them."

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