Together They Stand

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WASHINGTON: Having reconciled their own versions of the tax bill, Republicans are now headed for the White House with a compromise that looks to have "Return To Sender" scrawled all over it. But TIME's John Dickerson reports it's too early to tell if Republicans are setting themselves up for a veto. "Clinton has said he will veto any provision that requires an indexing of capital gains, but they've got a lot of negotiations to do. The Republicans are deliberately throwing out proposals that are on the extreme edge of what they want so they will have some bargaining room." The agreement leans closer to the House's version of the bill, a sticky development since Clinton considers the House proposal less acceptable even than the Senate's. GOP leaders were tight-lipped on details, but people close to the talks said the Republican proposal will allow investors to subtract the effects of inflation in calculating their capital gains and prevent the expansion of the $500 per child tax credit. Both provisions are anathema to Clinton. The bargaining table, meanwhile, is decidedly tilted toward the President. "Clinton and the Democrats are ahead in the public opinion polls in almost all the issues related to taxes, so the White House can be very relaxed in its negotiations."