$85 Billion Tax Cut Passes First Hurdle

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WASHINGTON, D.C.: The House Ways and Means Committee brushed aside Democratic concerns and sent Bill Archer's $85 billion tax cut package to the House floor Friday. If passed, the legislation will give Americans their first major tax cut in 16 years. The GOP successfully beat back a barrage of attacks from Democrats who tried to bring the legislation closer to the tax package envisioned by the White House, which has criticized the Archer plan as not providing enough tax relief to the working poor and middle class. The legislation, however, suffered a surprising setback after a half dozen Republicans lined up with Democrats to defeat a provision which sought to impose new taxes on Indian gambling casinos. In other action, the committee rejected an attempt to increase cigarette taxes for health insurance for poor children and backed Archer's plan to eliminate ethanol subsidies. But the bill's restrictions on education provisions are sure to become the focus of debate with the White House in the coming weeks.