Democrat Leader Gephardt Calls for Tax Hikes and Defense Cuts
"No surprises here," says RNC's Nicholson as Democrat Leader admits intentions
(WASHINGTON, DC) – House Democrat Minority Leader Richard Gephardt admitted in Philadelphia this week that if the Democrats are returned to majority status in Congress, he plans to raise taxes even higher and further cut America's already hard-pressed defense budget. Republican National Committee Chairman Jim Nicholson says Gephardt's revelations come as no surprise.
"Bill Clinton and Al Gore asked Congress to impose 81 new tax increases this year, and they've eviscerated our national security," Nicholson said. "It's no surprise that a 'Speaker Richard Gephardt' would help a 'President Al Gore' reprise the Democrats' greatest hits."
Gephardt's intentions to raise taxes even higher were reported today in Larry Eichel's "The Body Politic" column in The Philadelphia Inquirer:
"On a visit to Philadelphia last week, Richard Gephardt actually talked about raising taxes.
"The House Minority Leader made his comments in a setting not picked for maximum impact, a midday talk at a Center City bookstore. His audience included Mayor Rendell, a few political junkies and several bedraggled souls seeking shelter from a thunderstorm.
"Gephardt told the assembled non-multitude that if the Democrats take back the House in 2000 and he becomes speaker, he intends to push for much higher federal spending on education.
"And where would the money come from?
"'You've got to have a combination of taking it out of the defense budget and raising revenue,' he said. 'We can argue about how to do that, closing loopholes or even raising taxes to do it.'
"Mind you, his goal in life is not to reinforce the stereotype of Democrats as tax-and-spend liberals. Raising taxes is not his first choice.
"'I feel we can find room in the budget to do what must be done without a tax increase,' Gephardt said. 'But if we can't, well, this is the paramount challenge we face as a society, and I think the public shares that view...
"I'd be proud to vote for tax increases for schools. You bet I would..."
(Ellipses appear in the original text).
Republican National Committee