A Look At The Spending Side (7/30/97)
Congress To Vote On Budget, Tax Bills (7/30/97)
Weighing In On The Budget Deal (7/30/97)
Clinton, GOP Leaders Hail Budget Pact (7/29/97)
Explaining The Budget (7/29/97)
How The Deal Affects You: A look at the agreement's tax breaks for families, capital gains and education. (7/29/97)
GOP, White House Say Budget A Done Deal (7/28/97)
Congress Wraps Up Work On Balanced Budget Deal
Pair of bills rockets through both chambers, heads for president's desk
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, July 31) -- Congress wrapped up two furious days of work on the balanced budget deal reached earlier this week as the Senate cleared the tax cut bill by an overwhelming margin Thursday afternoon.
The five-year, $151.6 billion tax plan, which provides a net tax cut of $94 billion, passed the Senate 92-8. Earlier today, the Senate cleared the companion budget legislation, which lays out spending priorities, on a 85-15 vote.The House of Representatives got the budget out of its hair earlier in the day, approving the tax cut plan 389-43. It had passed the spending plan Wednesday night on a 346-85 vote.
Congress raced to approve the twin bills and deliver them to President Bill Clinton's desk before leaving Washington Friday for its August recess.
Together, the spending and tax cut packages promise to eliminate the deficit by 2002 and provide the first major tax cut in 16 years.
The week proved to be a gala week of chest thumping, with a White House ceremony planned for Friday. Meanwhile, the question remains: will the agreement actually balance the budget by 2002?
No delays here: House moves swiftly
Following last night's passage of the balanced budget spending bill, the House moved quickly to consider the tax cut portion of the pact.
A $500-per-child credit tops the bill's features. Republicans got their much coveted reduction in the capital-gains tax, while Clinton won $35 billion in benefits for students. Reductions in estate taxes and a cigarette tax hike are also part of the plan.
"It provides tax relief ... from the childhood years to the education years, from the savings years to the retirement years," said House Way and Means Committee Bill Archer (R-Texas), a chief architect of the pact.
Some liberal lawmakers spoke out against the tax cut plan during the day.
"We in the Democratic Party feel strongly that the people in the middle, the people stuck on the bottom, are the people we need to be giving the majority of this tax cut," said House Minority leader Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.).
Even so, the measure passed with overwhelming support, with only 43 Democrats, plus Rep. Tom Campbell (R-Calif.) and Rep. Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.) voting nay.
"I thought there would be 20 more no votes," House Speaker Newt Gingrich said after the roll call.
Senate approves the spending bill
Democratic and Republican senators declared victory after passing legislation this morning that promises to reduce spending and balance the federal budget by 2002. The measure would also provide health insurance coverage for children.
In a strongly bipartisan vote, 42 Democrats and 43 Republicans voted yea, while only three Democrats and 12 Republicans voted to reject the balanced budget spending bill.
"It is, in short, a great victory for the American people who are entitled to expect that their adult leaders work together," said Senate Budget Committee chairman Pete Domenici (R-N.M.).
The celebratory mood reigned over the Senate floor even before the historic vote. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) said he would like to sing "Hail to the Chief" as he had promised to do if this day came. Alas, the Senate's rules prohibit singing on the floor.
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