Week Ahead ● Congress
For Immediate Release: 
May 3, 2004
Contact Info: 

» Please view "The Weekly Whip" for the week of May 3, 2004

Items you may want to do press on:

  • H.R. 4227 - Alternative Minimum Tax Relief Act
  • Conference Report on H.Con.Res. 393 - Republican Budget Resolution for FY 2005

Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) Relief Act
This bill is the second in a series of four tax bills that the House Republicans will bring to the Floor over the next several weeks in order to provide political cover to their marginal members.  They have openly stated to the press that they don't expect these bills to become law.

"Under the Administration’s 2005 budget, which does not address the long-term AMT problem, 30 million households will face the AMT by 2009 (up from three million today).  By 2014, 44 million households will face the tax and the AMT would take back 40 percent of the ostensible tax cuts from making the 2001 and 2003 laws permanent. Fixing the AMT is not only necessary to avoid further complexity in the tax code, but would substantially raise the cost of making the tax cuts permanent." [From a report by William Gale and Peter Orszag, The Brookings Institution, March 8, 2004]
This is a good opportunity for Democrats to reiterate their support for fiscally responsible middle-class tax relief.
Democrats will offer a better bill, which will be fiscally responsible (fully offset) and will offer more relief for middle-income families.

More details on the Republican and Democratic bills will be available next week.

Attached are:

Conference Report on Fiscal Year 2005 Republican Budget Resolution
The House may consider the GOP's FY05 Budget Conference Report next week. 
It is not yet clear - though unlikely - whether the conference report will contain a real "pay-as-you-go" provision to rein in the record deficits caused by Republican policies.
The Senate Budget would reinstate expired "pay-as-you-go" rules that mandate offsets for new tax cuts and entitlement spending.
The House Democratic Budget contained similar "pay-as-you-go" language, and Democrats offered a motion to instruct conferees to accept the Senate "pay-as-you-go" language.  Both House and Senate Republican Leaders refuse to support "pay-as-you-go" and fiscally responsible policies, and want to hide from any accountability.  President Bush included "pay-as-you-go" in his first three budgets, but has now flip-flopped into oppostion.
A vote for the Republican Budget Conference Report will also be a vote to raise the debt limit for the third time since the Bush Administration came to office in 2001.  The debt limit was $5.9 trillion when Bush took office and had not been raised in the previous four years.  Passage of this FY05 conference report will spin off a resolution to increase the debt limit by another $700 billion that will be deemed to have passed the House.  Such an action is another attempt to hide from any accountability and will result in raising the debt limit to $8.1 trillion in FY05.
The GOP budget anticipates having to borrow trillions more in the future and eventually will increase our nation's debt to $10.4 trillion in FY09.  Last year the GOP budget anticipated a debt of $10.1 trillion in FY09 and more than $12 trillion for FY13.
A vote for the conference report is, in effect, a vote to increase the debt burden by $2,000 on every man, woman, and child in the United States without any honest debate or accountability.
The Democratic Whip Website's Budget Clearinghouse section on Fiscal Responsibility may help you in doing press on House Democratic support for  fiscal responsibility and real "pay-as-you-go," and House Republicans' refusal to seriously tackle the ballooning deficits that are threatening Social Security, Medicare and our ability to invest in America's future