Statement by the President: Estate Tax (7/14/00)
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary
                          (Camp David, Maryland)

For Immediate Release                                    July 14, 2000

                        STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT

While I am willing to support targeted and fiscally responsible legislation
that provides estate tax relief for small businesses, family farms and
principal residences, the estate tax repeal passed by the Senate is a
budget-busting bill that that provides a huge tax cut for the most well off
Americans at the expense of working families.  This back-loaded bill
explodes in cost from $100 billion from 2001-10 to $750 billion from
2011-20, just when Medicare and Social Security are coming under strain.
The Senate is wrong to pass this costly, irresponsible, and regressive bill
which provides half of its benefits to about 3,000 families annually while
more than 10 million Americans are waiting for an increase in the minimum
wage and tens of millions of seniors lack dependable prescription drug
coverage.  Furthermore, studies by economists have found that repealing the
estate tax would reduce charitable donations by $5 billion to $6 billion
per year.  When this bill comes to my desk, I will veto it.

I am disappointed that the majority in the Senate placed such an emphasis
on passing such a large and regressive tax cut, while voting against the
priorities of millions of American families.  The majority in the Senate
voted against more targeted and fiscally responsible estate tax relief that
would have eliminated estate taxes for two-thirds of families and the vast
majority of small businesses and family farms at a fraction of the cost of
repeal.  The Senate also voted against measures to reduce poverty among
senior citizens, provide for a voluntary Medicare prescription drug
benefit, make college more affordable,  provide additional housing, help
working families save for retirement, and assist families in assuring
affordable health insurance and long-term care.

I urge the Congressional leadership to work with me to relieve the burden
of estate taxes for small businesses, family farms and families in a
fiscally responsible manner while strengthening Social Security and
Medicare, investing in key priorities, and paying down the debt by 2012.


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