Friday, March 09, 2001

Lucas backs Bush's tax cut

By Derrick DePledge
Enquirer Washington Bureau

        WASHINGTON — Rep. Ken Lucas was one of 10 Democrats to break with their party Thursday and support the first installment of President Bush's $1.6 trillion tax package.

        “Tax relief isn't a Democratic issue or a Republican issue, but an American issue,” said Mr. Lucas, of Richwood. “We can have sensible tax reductions and continue to pay down our national debt if we work together.”

        Mr. Lucas said he would have preferred that Congress agree on the next fiscal year's budget before adopting tax relief, but he thinks both parties are committed to reducing the federal debt.

        “I believe we can accomplish these things if we are willing to put people ahead of politics,” he said.

        The rest of the Tristate's congressional delegation voted along party lines, with Republicans backing the tax cuts and Democrats dissenting.

U.S. House approves tax cut bill
Infographic: Details on tax cuts
How will tax cut affect you?
        The $958 billion tax package would lower rates in all federal income-tax brackets. Other parts of Mr. Bush's proposal, including revisions to the marriage penalty and the estate tax, will be taken up later. The Senate probably won't consider the tax package until May.

        The Heritage Foundation, a conservative public-policy research group, estimates that married taxpayers who earn the median income of $39,701 and have one dependent would save $1,100 a year under Mr. Bush's proposal.

        Mr. Lucas, now in his second term, often votes with Republicans on issues such as taxes, abortion and gun control. He was one of a handful of Democrats to vote for a Republican tax package in 1999 that was vetoed by President Clinton.

        As one of the conservative “Blue Dog” Democrats, Mr. Lucas has had to fend off speculation that he might switch parties. Republican lawmakers approached him in December about joining them. He said he is comfortable being a Democrat.


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