March 15, 1995 in Nation/World

Democrats Let Gop Have Its Way

Associated Press

House Republicans pushed their “Contract With America” tax cuts through the Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday after Democrats declared the package hopelessly flawed and abandoned efforts to change it.

Democrats offered a single amendment - to end the tax cuts after five years. After that was defeated, on a 21-14 party-line vote, they offered no further amendments and the committee adopted the package by the same vote.

“If you are a hard-working, overburdened American family, relief is on the way,” said Ways and Means Chairman Bill Archer, R-Texas.

The tax cuts, including a $500-a-child credit for families earning up to $200,000, would cost the Treasury $189 billion over five years. Democrats said the loss would balloon the deficit but Republicans vowed to cover it entirely by slashing spending.

“Not one single cent of tax relief will be provided unless it is offset by spending reductions,” Archer said. He promised that Republicans would deliver the spending cuts before the full House votes.

The Democrats’ refusal to participate further in the bill-writing session startled Republicans, who were prepared to work late into the night throughout the week. The capitulation marked an abrupt shift in tactics by the outnumbered Democrats, who recently spent many days trying to soften GOP welfare changes.

“It wouldn’t make any difference if we put up an amendment to have the American flag be red, white and blue with 50 stars, we couldn’t pass it,” said Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash.

The no-amendment stance, agreed upon by Democrats at lunch Tuesday, was taken to make it clear that Democrats favor deficit reduction over tax cuts, McDermott said.

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