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Full Text of Senate Conservatives' Letter To Trent Lott:

Dear Mr. Majority Leader:

A budget deal that violates our fundamental principles is worse than no budget deal at all. As you work to forge a budget package we believe any credible balanced budget plan must meet the following five thresholds. These include:

  • Meaningful tax relief for families. This must include a cut in the capital gains tax, a $500 per child tax credit, and a cut in the inheritance tax.

  • Steadily declining deficits every year until the deficit is eliminated.

  • No legislative "fix" to the Consumer Price Index. Any corrections applied to the CPI must be done by technical experts, and not by Congress or the President for political expediency or to offset higher discretionary spending. Any adjustment in the CPI should not be part of the budget.

  • The discretionary add-ons in the waning days of the last Congress should not be built into the new budget. Discretionary spending should not grow above the 1997 level, and under no circumstances should discretionary spending be higher than the President's request from last year.

  • Congressional Budget Office economic assumptions only. We reject any effort to selectively choose OMB data to enable higher spending.

We must not negotiate away the very principles that we were elected to defend. The Republican party has, and always will be the party of limited government and unlimited opportunity for all Americans.

Any effort to compromise tax relief for working Americans, to use rosy economic scenarios, and to succumb to political pressure to shave standard of living indices to raise income taxes and cut Social Security benefits in order to feed the growth of the federal government would be a retreat from our fundamental principles. We believe that people should keep more of what they earn, and that government must have limits.

We cannot, in good conscience, support any budget package that violates these five reasonable thresholds.


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