- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 23, 2004


House-Senate negotiators late last night approved extending three popular middle-class tax cuts, and Republicans, eager to get the bill to President Bush, predicted swift passage in both chambers of Congress.

The conference panel approved the bill after overriding objections from Democrats who said the tax cuts should be offset by tax increases in other areas, limiting its effect on the government’s soaring budget deficit.

The tax breaks are estimated to be worth $145.9 billion over 10 years.

Rep. Bill Thomas, California Republican and House Ways and Means Committee chairman, and Sen. Charles E. Grassley, Iowa Republican and Senate Finance Committee chairman, both predicted quick passage.

The House will take up the measure today and Mr. Grassley said the Senate will follow either tomorrow or early next week.

“This very important piece of legislation will be moved to the president for his signature,” Mr. Thomas told reporters after the conference negotiations concluded after a late-night meeting.

The bill was considered must-pass legislation by Republicans because it will extend three of Mr. Bush’s most popular tax cuts, which were all due to expire at the end of this year.

The measure will keep the child tax credit at $1,000. It also continues an expanded 10 percent tax rate that lowers tax bills for virtually all taxpayers, and continues to offer married couples tax savings.

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