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US Congress Approves $350 Billion Tax Cut Package


The U.S. Congress has given final approval to a $350 billion tax cut package. It is less than half of what President Bush initially sought, but supporters say it is enough to boost the stagnant economy.

Just hours after the House of Representatives passed the bill on a 231 to 200 vote mostly along party lines, the Senate followed suit by a vote of 51 to 50, with Vice President Dick Cheney breaking the tie. The bill now goes to President Bush for his signature.

Republicans who had hoped for a larger tax cut package said the scaled down plan would still be beneficial.

"I think even with these modest tax cuts we are going to spur the economy," commented Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas.

Democratic opponents, including Senator Mark Dayton of Minnesota, said the bill would cause the national debt to soar, and benefit mostly the wealthy. He said "These are reductions targeted right toward the rich and the super-rich, the wealthiest five percent, the wealthiest one-percent of Americans."

The measure would lower taxes on capital gains and stock dividends over the next five years and accelerate scheduled federal income tax cuts. Some $20 billion would go to the states, which are in financial trouble. In addition, small businesses would get tax breaks to expand their operations or invest in new equipment.

The U.S. Congress has given final approval to a $350 billion tax cut package. It is less than half of what President Bush initially sought, but supporters say it is enough to boost the stagnant economy. Correspondent Deborah Tate reports from Capitol Hill.

Just hours after the House of Representatives passed the bill on a 231 to 200 vote mostly along party lines, the Senate followed suit by a vote of 51 to 50, with Vice President Dick Cheney breaking the tie. The bill now goes to President Bush for his signature.

Republicans who had hoped for a larger tax cut package said the scaled down plan would still be beneficial.

"I think even with these modest tax cuts we are going to spur the economy," commented Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas.

Democratic opponents, including Senator Mark Dayton of Minnesota, said the bill would cause the national debt to soar, and benefit mostly the wealthy. He said "These are reductions targeted right toward the rich and the super-rich, the wealthiest five percent, the wealthiest one-percent of Americans."

The measure would lower taxes on capital gains and stock dividends over the next five years and accelerate scheduled federal income tax cuts. Some $20 billion would go to the states, which are in financial trouble. In addition, small businesses would get tax breaks to expand their operations or invest in new equipment.

President Bush, keenly aware that economic woes hurt his father's re-election bid in 1992, hopes the tax cut plan will help his re-election chances next year.

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