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Congress to Vote to End 'Marriage Penalty' Tax

Aired July 17, 2000 - 2:18 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: The Senate is taking up another big tax cut plan today. Republicans are pushing a bill to eliminate the so-called marriage tax penalty. But President Clinton vows to veto it in what could become a pre-election showdown.

Details now from CNN's Bob Franken. He joins us live from the outside the Capitol -- Bob.

BOB FRANKEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No question about it, Natalie. It is another of those tax bills the Republicans are just racing to pass before the Republican convention. So they can hammer at President Clinton and the Democrats for the vetoes of the legislation. Last week, we had the estate tax, this week it's the marriage penalty. We don't know if they'll get past all the 40 or so amendments that are being offered, primarily by Democrats, tonight. But the vote will either come late tonight or first thing in the morning.

The marriage penalty, of course, that extra tax that many married couples who are working pay that is higher than what they would be paying if they had filed as single people. It's been a longtime political issue. It costs the treasury quite a bit of money, $248 billion, as a matter of fact, over 10 years we're told.

The president has said that he too favors elimination of the marriage penalty. But he wants to make a deal with the Republicans to put together a package where he would approve it, if the Republicans would agree to a prescription drug benefit in Medicare; something that the GOP has not agreed to do.

So it is a political matter, the vote, when it comes, will come in time to force a veto by President Clinton as I said, before the political conventions. And you can just add that, then, to the long list of political issues that will be facing us between now and November -- Natalie.

ALLEN: All right, we'll add it, thanks, Bob Franken on Capitol Hill.

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