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THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
(Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts)
For Immediate Release
August 5, 2000
TO THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:
I am returning herewith without my approval H.R. 4810, the "Marriage Tax
Relief Reconciliation Act of 2000," because it is poorly targeted and one
part of a costly and regressive tax plan that reverses the principle of
fiscal responsibility that has contributed to the longest economic
expansion in history.
My Administration supports marriage penalty relief and has offered a
targeted and fiscally responsible proposal in our fiscal year 2001 budget
to provide it. However, I must oppose H.R. 4810. Combined with the
numerous other tax bills approved by the Congress this year and supported
by the congressional majority for next year, it would drain away the
projected surplus that the American people have worked so hard to create.
Even by the Congressional Budget Office's more optimistic projection, this
tax plan would plunge America back into deficit and would leave nothing for
lengthening the life of Social Security or Medicare; nothing for voluntary
and affordable Medicare pre-scription drug benefits; nothing for education
and school construction. Moreover, the congressional majority's tax plan
would make it impossible for us to get America out of debt by 2012.
H.R. 4810 would cost more than $280 billion over 10 years if its provisions
were permanent, making it significantly more expensive than either of the
bills originally approved by the House and the Senate. It is poorly
targeted toward delivering marriage penalty relief -- only about 40 percent
of the cost of H.R. 4810 actually would reduce marriage penalties. It also
provides little tax relief to those families that need it most, while
devoting a large fraction of its benefits to families with higher incomes.
Taking into account H.R. 4810, the fiscally irresponsible tax cuts passed
by the House Ways and Means Committee this year provide about as much
benefit to the top 1 percent of Americans as to the bottom 80 percent
combined. Families in the top 1 percent get an average tax break of over
$16,000, while a middle-class family gets only $220 on average. But if
interest rates went up because of the congressional majority's plan by even
one-third of one percent, then mortgage payments for a family with a
$100,000 mortgage would go up by $270, leaving them worse off than if they
had no tax cut at all.
We should have tax cuts this year, but they should be the right ones,
targeted to working families to help our economy grow -- not tax breaks
that will help only a few while putting our prosperity at risk. I have
proposed a program of targeted tax cuts that will give a middle-class
American family substan-tially more benefits than the Republican plan at
less than half the cost. Including our carefully targeted marriage penalty
relief, two-thirds of the relief will go to the middle 60 percent of
American families. Our tax cuts will also help to send our children to
college, with a tax deduction or 28 percent tax credit for up to $10,000 in
college tuition a year; help to
care for family members who need long-term care, through a $3,000 long-term
care tax credit; help to pay for child care and to ease the burden on
working families with three or more children; and help to fund desperately
needed school construction.
And because our plan will cost substantially less than the tax cuts passed
by the Congress, we'll still have the resources we need to provide a
Medicare prescription drug benefit; to extend the life of Social Security
and Medicare; and to pay off the debt by 2012 -- so that we can keep
interest rates low, keep our economy growing, and provide lower home
mortgage, car, and college loan payments for the American people.
This surplus comes from the hard work and ingenuity of the American people.
We owe it to them to make the best use of it -- for all of them, and for
our children's future.
Since the adjournment of the Congress has prevented my return of H.R. 4810
within the meaning of Article I, section 7, clause 2 of the Constitution,
my withholding of approval from the bill precludes its becoming law. The
Pocket Veto Case, 279 U.S. 655 (1929). In addition to withholding my
signature and thereby invoking my constitutional power to "pocket veto"
bills during an adjournment of the Congress, to avoid litigation, I am also
sending H.R. 4810 to the House of Representatives with my objections, to
leave no possible doubt that I have vetoed the measure.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON
THE WHITE HOUSE,
August 5, 2000.
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