Christmas in June

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With the tax bill squared away, the White House gets nervous WASHINGTON, D.C.: It was a very happy day on the Hill as Congressmen flush with funds from a surging economy got to play Santa in the form of a $135 billion tax cut package, the largest tax relief in more than a decade. Coming a day after the House overwhelmingly voted for its GOP-sponsored tax relief proposal, the White House is feeling the pressure to make a deal fast. Just minutes after the House bill passed the bill, Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin was sequestered with chief House tax writer Bill Archer, looking for ways to overcome presidential reservations about what a radical tax bill would mean for the fate of the balanced budget deal. Both measures represent the biggest tax break since the Reagan administration. "We're going to work with the president and his team," a jubilant Newt Gingrich said. "We're going to try to find everything we can to get the bill signed, and I have every reason to believe it'll be signed." The House bill features a $500 per child tax credit, across-the-board reductions in capital gains and estate taxes and a $10,000 deduction for education expenses paid through special investment accounts. The Senate bill would broaden the $500 per child tax credit to low-income families and use income-indexed reductions in capital gains to target small businesses and middle-class families. The bill would also boost cigarette taxes by 20 cents per pack.