[Homestead] Legislative sleight of hand
tvoivozd at infionline.net
Wed Sep 22 21:43:33 EDT 2004
Master of Deceit Santorum intends to shove back in conference the
agreed-upon deletions---in conference this is easily and frequently done
and legislators on the floor can't do a damn thing about it.
*Charity Bill Gets Another Push*
Tax-Break Measure Is Designed to Encourage Contributions
By Helen Dewar
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 22, 2004; Page A06
Key House and Senate Republicans yesterday pushed to revive legislation
to encourage contributions to charitable groups and thereby salvage the
remains of President Bush's once ambitious faith-based legislative
Senate Republican Conference Chairman Rick Santorum (Pa.) and House
Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) urged that the charity measure be
piggybacked onto a corporate tax-cut bill now awaiting final
negotiations if, as appears likely, it cannot be passed as a separate bill.
But they conceded that their chance of passing the charity measure this
year is not great. "I would say it's probably not very high," Santorum
As passed overwhelmingly by the House and Senate last year, the
legislation would provide nearly $13 billion in tax breaks and other
incentives over the next 10 years, including a provision allowing
deductions for charitable contributions by taxpayers who do not itemize
deductions. People could also roll over their individual retirement
accounts directly to charities without paying a penalty. New incentives
would be provided for donations to food banks and for banks to help
low-income people set up savings accounts.
Republicans contend that the legislation has been stripped of more
controversial provisions that would have made it easier for religious
groups to receive federal grants and contracts, including language
approved earlier by the House that critics said could lead to
government-funded religious proselytizing and job discrimination.
There is "nothing controversial" left in the bill, Santorum told the
Senate yesterday as he urged Senate backing for a conference with the
House on the measure.
But Democrats blocked the proposal, as they have done on several other
occasions. Democratic leaders have raised several concerns, including
the fear that some of the contentious provisions could be added back in
Republican-led negotiations between the House and Senate on a final
version of the measure.
"There is a reluctance to go to conference because Democrats, for the
last two years, have been locked out of conferences" on major bills,
said Todd Webster, communications director for Senate Minority Leader
Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.). If Democrats are locked out of a conference
on the charities bill, Republicans "can load it up with whatever
ideological schemes they can think of," he added.
Instead of holding a conference, Webster said Daschle wants the House to
consider the Senate version of the legislation. Santorum and Blunt
rejected that argument, saying that such a strategy would not work.
It was unclear whether the charity bill might be added to the corporate
tax measure, which faces problems of its own in winning passage before
© 2004 The Washington Post Company
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