Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Republicans say hurricane won't stop tax breaks for wealthy

REUTERS - Republicans in Congress on Wednesday rejected calls by Democrats to suspend work on tax cuts, that would mainly benefit the rich, and spending reductions on social programs because of the huge costs of hurricane relief.

"Now is not the time to cut services for our most vulnerable, cut taxes for our most fortunate and add $35 billion to the deficit," the Democratic leaders of the Senate and the House of Representatives said in a letter to their Republican counterparts.

Congressional committees face a Sept. 16 deadline to come up with $35 billion in spending reductions over five years to programs including the Medicaid health-care program for the poor, student loans, food stamps and pension insurance. The committees are also scheduled to approve $70 billion in tax cuts this month. The cuts could be extensions of reductions on capital gains and dividends, which affect mainly the incomes of the wealthy.

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