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Senators Give Press Conference on Passage of 2002 Budget

Aired May 10, 2001 - 12:08   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.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: We want to take you back to Capital Hill. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott is coming out to make comments. There he is making comments on the Senate's passage of the budget. Let's listen in.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

SEN. TRENT LOTT (R-MS), MAJORITY LEADER: ... and also provides for the funds that will be necessary for the government, an increase of 4 percent. There is a contingency fund here. We have funds allowed for Medicare of course, and funds for health and education in general.

This has been a great effort. I want to commend the chairman of the Budget Committee, Pete Domenici. He has done this several times and it's always a challenge, but he is always up to the challenge and I thank him for that. And the president has already called. We had a chance to visit with him and assure him we're ready to go forward now in this process that will lead to responsible government, fiscal restraint, but the tax relief that we have been promising the people.

Now also, I want to recognize with us today is the chairman of the House Budget Committee, the new chairman in the House. He did a great job in his first budget effort, Jim Nussle from Iowa. And we're glad to have you over here on the other side. And it feels pretty good when you're winning the vote.

I think this was a great victory, not just for the president and for the Congress, but for the American people. It is the first step along the way, but it is a critical one.

And so, let me yield to the chairman of our conference, if I could, to Pete Domenici, for any remarks he might want to make.

SEN. PETE DOMENICI (R-NM), CHAIRMAN, BUDGET COMMITTEE: Well, thank you. We have so many senators that want to speak, but I'm going to be brief. I'm going to tell you what I think this budget stands for. I think it stands for prosperity now and prosperity in the future. Actually, we have a very heavy responsibility to set policy that will permit America to grow, prosper, create jobs for our people and give more opportunity to those who are enthusiastically part of the entrepreneurial and capital system in America.

To that end, we reduced taxes and gave them back 25 percent of the surplus. Now the committees will see to it that that is appropriately put in the tax code to do what we've been talking about, to make prosperity now and prosperity in the future.

DOMENICI: We will get $100 billion amount of money in the tax code which will go to try to sensitize this economy, as an incentive to help it and nourish it back on its way. That's going to be good for every American who is facing high energy costs. They're going to get a very healthy check from the government or reduction in their taxes this year, next year.

KAGAN: We've been listening to Republican senators talk about the passage of the budget proposal for fiscal year 2002. It passed the Senate earlier today, within the last hour. The final vote on that one was 53-47. Two Republicans voted against the proposal, but five Democrats crossed the aisle and voted for it.

Yesterday, it passed the House by a vote of 221-207.

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