[Homestead] Legislative sleight of hand

Tvoivozhd 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.


*washingtonpost.com* <http://www.washingtonpost.com/>
*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 
told reporters.

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 
Congress adjourns.

© 2004 The Washington Post Company

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