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The Clinton Economic Plan

August 16, 1993

The House approved, by a two-vote margin, the Democratic plan to use tax hikes and spending restraint to slow the growth of the national debt by $496 billion over five years through fiscal 1998.

The bill raises the federal levy on gasoline from 14.1 to 18.4 cents per gallon, taxes better-off Social Security recipients on a larger share of their benefits, and raises rates on taxable incomes above $115,000 for singles and $140,000 for couples, among other revenue measures.

Its biggest restraint on entitlements is to slow Medicare payments to doctors and hospitals by $56 billion over five years. It requires nearly $150 billion in discretionary spending slowdowns, in defense and other programs, but delays most of that restraint until late in the five-year cycle.

The measure also creates red ink. It increases spending for programs such as food stamps and childhood immunization. It forgoes future tax revenue by enlarging the earned income tax credit for the working poor, creating new tax breaks to attract economic development to blighted areas and carving out several tax exemptions for special interests.

Supporter Robert T. Matsui (D-Sacramento) said: "Eighty-five percent of the tax increase will be paid by those families making $180,000 or more a year. In fact, somebody making between $30,000 and $40,000 a year will have only a $5-a-month increase in their taxes. Somebody making $75,000 to $100,000 . . . an increase in their taxes of $27 a month, and it's basically the gasoline tax."

Opponent Peter T. King (R-N.Y.) called the measure "a repudiation by the President of the promises he made in his campaign--not to have a gasoline tax, not to raise taxes on the middle class. It is because of budgets such as this that the economy is going to be damaged and the people lose faith in their government."

The vote was 218 for and 216 against. A yes vote was to pass the bill.

How They Voted Rep. Beilenson (D): Yea Rep. Berman (D): Yea Rep. McKeon (R): Nay Rep. Moorhead (R): Nay Rep. Waxman (D): Yea

Elimination of Honey Subsidy

The House voted to eliminate taxpayer subsidies of honey producers. It followed a Senate vote to limit at $50,000 annually the federal price support for individual beekeepers. The final figure will be determined next month soon after Congress returns from its summer recess Sept. 8 and completes action on the fiscal 1994 agriculture appropriations bill (HR 2493). President Clinton earlier this year called for elimination of the program, which defenders say ensures crop pollination, but which critics call wasteful spending. It benefits 2% of the nation's 200,000-plus beekeepers at a cost of at least $18 million annually.

Sponsor Harris W. Fawell (R-Ill.) said: "If we cannot take some toddling steps like this, how on Earth does Congress ever expect to meet the staggering responsibilities which are before us" to control deficit spending?

Opponent Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.) said: "Maybe there is something about honey, because it is produced by insects, that causes people to giggle and take this less seriously as an agricultural commodity, but I can tell members, from the honey producers in my state, this is small business in rural America, supporting family farming operations."

The vote was 344 for and 60 against. A yes vote was to eliminate the taxpayer subsidy of beekeepers.

How They Voted Rep. Beilenson (D): Yea Rep. Berman (D): No vote Rep. McKeon (R): Yea Rep. Moorhead (R): Yea Rep. Waxman (D): Yea

Disclosure of Intelligence Agencies' Budgets

The House refused to require public disclosure of the aggregate budgets of intelligence agencies. The amendment was proposed to a bill (HR 2330) authorizing fiscal 1994 funds for the CIA and other intelligence units. Although the figure is classified, during debate intelligence spending was estimated at $28 billion annually. If appropriated in a single bill, it would become the sixth-largest federal spending measure.

Sponsor Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said Article I of the Constitution "says explicitly that all expenditures of the federal government must be made public. For the past 42 years, we have thumbed our nose at that particular provision in the Constitution."

Opponent Henry J. Hyde (R-Ill.) said: "Most Americans understand there are some things that are best kept classified and confidential, and most Americans trust the two intelligence . . . committees in the House and Senate."

The vote was 169 for and 264 against. A yes vote supported disclosure of overall intelligence budgets.

How They Voted Rep. Beilenson (D): Yea Rep. Berman (D): Yea Rep. McKeon (R): Nay Rep. Moorhead (R): Nay Rep. Waxman (D): Yea Source: Roll Call Report Syndicate

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