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Daschle Celebrates Senate Budget Bill

Aired April 6, 2001 - 15:15   ET

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


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DONNA KELLEY, CNN ANCHOR: We're going to go take you to the Senate gallery and Tom Daschle. He's talking about the budget and tax cut plan passed.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

SEN. TOM DASCHLE (D), MINORITY LEADER: ... that would make an 11-year number of $1.2 trillion, but the 10-year number, the one that compares with the one-six is $1.18 trillion.

But more importantly than just the tax cut, what we feel good about, of course, is the commitment, now, to education and the commitment to debt reduction that we felt were so important. Not only that, we have the full commitment to prescription drug benefits. So I think we've made good progress this week, and I'm very encouraged by it. I understand some of our Republican friends have called this a victory; if this is a victory, there ought to be more like them. We are pleased.

We still think, however, that a lot of work needs to be done. We're very concerned about the implications for Medicare in this budget. This budget resolution requires that we dip into the Medicare trust fund by $50 billion, and that's not acceptable to many of us. This resolution does not go as far in debt reduction as many us would like, nor does it do anything to shore up Social Security.

And so we have some very serious concerns, and that was why many of us, in spite of the great progress we've made throughout the week, chose to vote against the resolution. Now, we have said from the beginning that protecting the Medicare trust fund was one of the key goals that we had. We don't think this resolution does it to our satisfaction.

But again, I think we've made great progress; we're very pleased with much of what we've been able to do, in spite of some of our misgivings. And let me turn to my two colleagues, who have done so much to bring us to this point: Senator Kent Conrad and Senator Debbie Stabenow.

KELLEY: President Bush said he was really pleased; Senator Tom Daschle says he's pleased. So we have folks pleased this afternoon as they look to tell us what they've done on the budgets and the tax-cut plan. The senator was making some different numbers there, saying that it's actually $1.18 trillion over the 10 years, so he was looking at the numbers a little differently. What we've heard is the budget is approved with $1.27 trillion for a tax cut rather than the $1.6 trillion over 10 years that the president wanted. So that's about a 25 percent reduction in that. The vote: 65 to 35. Senator Daschle said if the president and other Republicans are pleased, then it's a victory that ought to be more like them. He's still concerned about Medicare and Social Security.

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