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-Democrats Fail In First Effort to Shrink Tax Cut<br>-Democrats Gain Major Victory by Slicing Tax Cut<br>-Democrats Try to Raise Taxes to Fund AIDS Programs

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Roll Calls: Senate Democrats Prove Once Again: They Love Higher Taxes

-Democrats Fail In First Effort to Shrink Tax Cut
-Democrats Gain Major Victory by Slicing Tax Cut
-Democrats Try to Raise Taxes to Fund AIDS Programs

As the Senate continued its budget process, Democrats proved once again that they have never met a tax cut they liked.

Even worse, they nearly succeeded in raising taxes by a small amount, with every single Senate Democrat present voting for a tax hike proposed by 2004 presidential contender Sen. John Kerry (D.-Mass.). President Bush has promised that he will not allow a tax hike as long as he is alive and in office. That means that despite his near success in the Senate, Kerry may have to actually kill or defeat the President before he can get his wish and raise taxes.

Although Democrats did not succeed in actually raising taxes, they did, unfortunately, succeed in paring down President Bush’s economic stimulus package. Their amendment, which succeeded last week after failing the week before, effectively cuts in half the anticipated amount in tax cuts that can be rammed through the Senate within this year’s budget resolution. It may seem like a minor technical matter, but this actually means that any tax cut beyond a meager $350 billion will probably be vulnerable to a Democratic filibuster. It represents a huge defeat for the Bush administration.

ROLL CALL:
Democrats Fail In First Effort to Shrink Tax Cut

On March 19, by a vote of 38-62, the Senate rejected an amendment by Sen. John Breaux (D.-La.) to dramatically shrink the size of any tax cut that could be forced through the Senate under budget reconciliation.

As they did with President Bush’s 2001 tax cut, Republican Senate leaders are hoping to push a new tax cut through the Senate using the budget reconciliation process. This process would let the tax cut get through with just 50 votes, since the annual budget outline cannot be filibustered.

However, this method would also make the tax cut temporary, just like the 2001 tax cut, which expires in 2011. This is because budget outlines only cover a certain number of years-ten, in this case.

Breaux, known as one of the more conservative Senate Democrats, nonetheless made the argument that taxpayers, not the unwieldy and wasteful federal monster, should suffer because of the war and other poor decisions on spending over the years.

“There ought to be a way of reaching an agreement on the size of the tax cut that is reasonable and more balanced,” said Breaux. “We are cutting taxes at a time of uncertainty while we are in the middle of a war.”

“There are some who have suggested that we would like to have no tax cut whatsoever,” Breaux went on. “That would probably be the better course of action, if we could find the votes to do that, because conditions are dramatically different from what they were the last time we considered a major tax cut.”

But Breaux had also worked to shrink the size of the last tax cut, in 2001, when the nation was at peace.

Joining Breaux in co-sponsoring this amendment was the normally reliable conservative George Voinovich. Voinovich told HUMAN EVENTS last week that he was disturbed by the large deficit projections, and that he could not justify a large tax cut in that context (see last week’s issue, page 5).

But even as Voinovich supported the amendment to shrink the tax cut, several liberals voted against the amendment on the grounds that they wanted no tax cuts in the fiscal 2004 budget. This is because the Democrats’ best chance of defeating President Bush in the 2004 elections is to dig the economy into a deeper hole, and Bush’s stimulus package could improve the nation’s economic situation.

A “yes” vote was a vote to slice President Bush’s proposed tax relief package in half. A “no” vote was a vote against the amendment.

FOR THE AMENDMENT: 38


REPUBLICANS FOR (2): Snowe and Voinovich.

DEMOCRATS FOR (36): Baucus, Bayh, Biden, Bingaman, Boxer, Breaux, Cantwell, Carper, Conrad, Corzine, Daschle, Dayton, Dorgan, Edwards, Feingold, Graham (Fla.), Inouye, Johnson, Kerry, Kohl, Landrieu, Leahy, Levin, Lieberman, Lincoln, Mikulski, Murray, Nelson (Fla.), Nelson (Neb.), Pryor, Reid (Nev.), Rockefeller, Sarbanes, Schumer, Stabenow, and Wyden.

AGAINST THE AMENDMENT: 62


REPUBLICANS AGAINST (49): Alexander, Allard, Allen, Bennett, Bond, Brownback, Bunning, Burns, Campbell, Chafee, Chambliss, Cochran, Coleman, Collins, Cornyn, Craig, Crapo, DeWine, Dole, Domenici, Ensign, Enzi, Fitzgerald, Frist, Graham (S.C.), Grassley, Gregg, Hagel, Hatch, Hutchison, Inhofe, Kyl, Lott, Lugar, McCain, McConnell, Murkowski, Nickles, Roberts, Santorum, Sessions, Shelby, Smith, Specter, Stevens, Sununu, Talent, Thomas, and Warner.

DEMOCRATS AGAINST (12): Akaka, Byrd, Clinton, Dodd, Durbin, Feinstein, Harkin, Hollings, Miller, Reed (R.I.), Lautenberg, and Kennedy.

INDEPENDENT AGAINST (1): Jeffords.

ROLL CALL:
Democrats Gain Major Victory by Slicing Tax Cut

On March 25, by a vote of 51 to 48, the Senate adopted an amendment that effectively reduced the space in the fiscal 2004 budget allotted for tax cuts.

The amendment, proposed by Sen. John Breaux (D.-La.), reduced the amount of any tax cut that could be forced through the Senate under the special budget reconciliationrules that prevent filibusters.

A nearly identical amendment had failed just days earlier, but Breaux added to it a gimmick regarding a Social Security reserve fund. This proved enough for him to get the support he needed.

“This amendment has a $350-billion tax cut which is protected by budget reconciliation,” said Breaux. “The remaining funds will be used for a Social Security reserve fund.”

In fact, the rhetoric about Social Security was all a ruse. The amendment was actually Breaux’s way of flexing his muscle and showing how powerful he is as one of the few moderates in the Democratic caucus. He introduced a similar measure during the 2001 budget process that reduced President Bush’s tax relief initiative that year.

Although it had failed so badly in the preceding week, Breaux’s measure passed this time with almost no debate.

Because tax-cut enthusiast Sen. Zell Miller (D.-Ga.) was missing that day, not a single Democrat voted to preserve the President’s economic stimulus plan. Instead, all 47 Democrats present voted to take money away from American taxpayers to feed the behemoth federal government and the wasteful programs that they have created and supported over the last 40 years.

Joining them were three Republicans. Liberals Olympia Snowe (Maine) and Lincoln Chafee (R.I.) and usually conservative George Voinovich (Ohio) Unfortunately, HUMAN EVENTS was among the publications that mistakenly reported last week that John McCain (R.-Ariz.) was among the senators who defected. In fact, although McCain has been a vocal supporter of reducing the tax cut ever since Bush proposed it, he voted against the amendment, and in favor of preserving the tax cut’s integrity.

The real turn-coat on this vote was Chafee, who had voted with the Republicans when the amendment was submitted the previous Friday.

A “yes” vote was a vote to slice President Bush’s proposed tax relief package in half. A “no” vote was a vote to keep a large tax cut.

FOR THE AMENDMENT: 51


REPUBLICANS FOR (3): Chafee, Snowe, Voinovich.

DEMOCRATS FOR (47): Akaka, Baucus, Bayh, Biden, Bingaman, Boxer, Breaux, Byrd, Cantwell, Carper, Clinton, Conrad, Corzine, Daschle, Dayton, Dodd, Dorgan, Durbin, Edwards, Feingold, Feinstein, Graham (Fla.), Harkin, Hollings, Inouye, Johnson, Kennedy, Kerry, Kohl, Landrieu, Lautenberg, Leahy, Levin, Lieberman, Lincoln, Mikulski, Murray, Nelson (Fla.), Nelson (Neb.), Pryor, Reed (R.I.), Reid (Nev.), Rockefeller, Sarbanes, Schumer, Stabenow, and Wyden.

INDEPENDENT FOR (1): Jeffords.

AGAINST THE AMENDMENT: 48


REPUBLICANS AGAINST (48): Alexander, Allard, Allen, Bennett, Bond, Brownback, Bunning, Burns, Campbell, Chambliss, Cochran, Coleman, Collins, Cornyn, Craig, Crapo, DeWine, Dole, Domenici, Ensign, Enzi, Fitzgerald, Frist, Graham (S.C.), Grassley, Gregg, Hagel, Hatch, Hutchison, Inhofe, Kyl, Lott, Lugar, McCain, McConnell, Murkowski, Nickles, Roberts, Santorum, Sessions, Shelby, Smith, Specter, Stevens, Sununu, Talent, Thomas, and Warner.

DEMOCRATS AGAINST (0):

NOT VOTING (1): Miller.

ROLL CALL:
Democrats Try to Raise Taxes to Fund AIDS Programs

On March 26, by a vote of 51-47, the Senate rejected an amendment to the 2004 budget resolution (S Con Res. 23) by Sen. John Kerry (D.-Mass.) to raise taxes by $1.6 billion and use half of the new money to fund global AIDS projects. The other half of the money, he said, would have gone to “reduce the deficit.”

Amazingly, the tax hike almost passed, revealing once again the disconnect between senators and the rest of the citizenry.

Every single Democrat present on the Senate floor voted for this tax hike-including all the Democrats facing reelection next year. Among them vulnerable Senators Patty Murray (D.-Wash.), Harry Reid (D.-Nev.), Tom Daschle (D.-S.D.), Blanche Lincoln (D.-Ark.), John Edwards (D.-N.C.), and Fritz Hollings (D.-S.C.).

All 51 Republicans stood together to oppose the tax hike. Their leader, President Bush, declared last year that he would not allow any increase in taxes as long as he remains alive and in office.

“As all of us know, there are 42 million people living with AIDS worldwide,” said Kerry. “The Senate has addressed this issue previously, but the amount of money annually allocated falls short of the promises almost every single year.”

But Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R.-Tenn.) pointed out that Kerry was actually trying to insert a tax hike into the budget resolution. He also noted that President Bush was doing a great deal already in spending taxpayers’ money to combat AIDS in foreign lands.

“The [budget] resolution now accommodates $15 billion in spending over the next five years for those countries hardest hit by the HIV/AIDS epidemic,” said Frist. “This is the largest commitment made by any country in the world to address this specific problem.”

Frist added that Kerry’s amendment “would also increase taxes by nearly $1.6 billion, further undermining the growth package now assumed in the resolution.

A “yes” vote was a vote to tax Americans more heavily beginning in 2004 and to send their money to foreign countries to deal with AIDS there. A “no” vote was a vote against the amendment.

FOR THE AMENDMENT: 47


REPUBLICANS FOR (0)

DEMOCRATS FOR (46): Akaka, Baucus, Bayh, Bingaman, Boxer, Breaux, Byrd, Cantwell, Carper, Clinton, Conrad, Corzine, Daschle, Dayton, Dodd, Dorgan, Durbin, Edwards, Feingold, Feinstein, Graham (Fla.), Harkin, Hollings, Inouye, Johnson, Kennedy, Kerry, Kohl, Landrieu, Lautenberg, Leahy, Levin, Lieberman, Lincoln, Mikulski, Murray, Nelson (Fla.), Nelson (Neb.), Pryor, Reed (R.I.), Reid (Nev.), Rockefeller, Sarbanes, Schumer, Stabenow, and Wyden.

INDEPENDENT FOR (1): Jeffords.

AGAINST THE AMENDMENT: 51


REPUBLICANS AGAINST (51): Alexander, Allard, Allen, Bennett, Bond, Brownback, Bunning, Burns, Campbell, Chafee, Chambliss, Cochran, Coleman, Collins, Cornyn, Craig, Crapo, DeWine, Dole, Domenici, Ensign, Enzi, Fitzgerald, Frist, Graham (S.C.), Grassley, Gregg, Hagel, Hatch, Hutchison, Inhofe, Kyl, Lott, Lugar, McCain, McConnell, Murkowski, Nickles, Roberts, Santorum, Sessions, Shelby, Smith, Snowe, Specter, Stevens, Sununu, Talent, Thomas, Voinovich, and Warner.

DEMOCRATS AGAINST (0):

NOT VOTING (2): Biden and Miller.

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