Pres. Clinton Challenges Congress to act on Americas Priorities

President Clinton Challenges Congress To Act On America’s Priorities

July 27, 2000

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President Clinton, joined by Democratic Leaders Daschle and Gephardt and members of the House and Senate Democratic caucuses, today will call on the Congressional majority end the legislative logjam on America’s top priorities. He will release a new state-by-state analysis that compares the number of Americans that would benefit from the recently passed estate tax with the number of Medicare beneficiaries who are still waiting for the Congress to pass an affordable, meaningful prescription drug benefit. The President will emphasize that the tax cuts – including the estate tax cut -- passed by the 106th Congress take America off the path of fiscal discipline, and could plunge the nation back into on-budget deficit (according to OMB’s estimates) or use the entire $1.8 trillion on-budget surplus (based on CBO’s more optimistic projections). In addition, the approach of the Republican leadership will leave no money for a Medicare prescription drug benefit, strengthening Social Security and Medicare, paying down the debt by 2012, or investing in key priorities like reducing class size and repairing crumbling schools. President Clinton will also urge Congress to pass his targeted tax cuts, which provide substantially more tax relief for middle class families at less than half the total cost of the Congressional proposals.

PRESIDENT CLINTON WILL TODAY RELEASE A NEW STATE-BY-STATE ANALYSIS COMPARING BENEFICIARIES OF ESTATE TAX REPEAL W/MEDICARE BENEFICIARIES WAITING FOR AN AFFORDABLE, MEANINGFUL PRESCRIPTION DRUG BENEFIT. This analysis documents that, nationwide, the estate tax repeal that the Republican leadership passed as one of their first priorities costs as much as the President’s entire prescription drug plan when phased in but helps millions of fewer Americans. In fact, only about two percent of American families benefit from the estate tax repeal – the wealthiest of all Americans – for an average tax break of $800,000 each. Moreover, more than half of the benefits of estate tax repeal go to the top one-tenth of one percent of families. In contrast, a new Medicare prescription drug benefit would provide a new, affordable coverage option for 39 million beneficiaries whose annual incomes average $20,000.

The President’s Medicare proposal also proposes to invest $40 billion in needed payment increases to health care providers, an investment that is complemented by major new investments in health insurance coverage for children, parents, people 55 to 65 years old, workers in between jobs, and legal immigrants.

PRESIDENT CLINTON WILL ALSO CALL ON CONGRESS TO PASS HIS PROPOSED TARGETED TAX CUTS THAT PROVIDE SUBSTANTIALLY MORE TAX RELIEF AT LESS THAN HALF THE TOTAL COST OF THE CONGRESSIONAL PROPOSALS: President Clinton has proposed significant new tax relief for America’s working families as part of a budget framework that maintains our fiscal discipline, makes investments in key priorities, strengthens the solvency of Social Security and Medicare, and pays down the debt by 2012. The President proposes $359 billion of gross tax cuts over 10 years – of which $263 billion are paid for out of the surplus and $96 billion are paid for with corporate loophole closers and other measures. Highlights include:

President Clinton’s tax cut proposals build on a successful strategy that has resulted in the lowest total Federal tax rates on typical families in over two decades. The tax cuts signed into law by the President in 1993 and 1997 – for example, the expanded Earned Income Tax Credit, the $500 child tax credit, the $1,500 HOPE Scholarship Tax Credit, and expanded IRAs – have reduced taxes for American families. The total Federal tax rate for the median-income family of four has dropped from 24.5 percent in 1992 to 22.8 percent in 1999 – that’s the lowest tax rate since 1978. For families at one-half the median income, the effective Federal tax rate has been slashed from 19.8 percent in 1992 to 14.1 percent in 1999 – that’s the lowest tax rate since 1968.


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