Topeka — Taxes should not be increased to reduce the federal budget deficit until Congress cuts spending and reforms the budget process, the Republican candidate for the 2nd District U.S. House seat said Friday.
Scott Morgan criticized Republican President Bush for backing away from his 1988 campaign pledge not to raise taxes. Bush abandoned his ``read my lips'' promise, saying budget problems have made it impossible to keep.
Morgan, a former aide to both Sen. Bob Dole and Gov. Mike Hayden, said Congress should first submit to the states a proposed constitutional amendment to require a balanced federal budget and to give the president the power to veto individual spending items.
He also said Congress should make spending cuts, including cuts in the federal defense budget. He said he plans to release a proposal for reducing the budget deficit later in the campaign.
``It makes absolutely no sense to me to sit here and raise taxes and give the money to the same people who got us into the mess in the first place,'' Morgan said at a news conference.
Morgan harshly criticized incumbent Democratic Rep. Jim Slattery, who has represented the 2nd District since 1983. Morgan said Slattery, a member of the House Budget Committee, is probably ``beside himself'' over the prospect of increasing taxes and is part of the ``tax-hungry Democrats.''
``I am breaking with my Republican president,'' Morgan said. ``I assure you that is a pretty hard thing to do.''
Slattery's press secretary, Nancy Malir, dismissed Morgan's criticism, saying Slattery has always worked to reduce the federal budget deficit.
``The congressman is proud of his record,'' she said. ``His platform always has been to eliminate the deficit.''
Morgan also renewed his calls for a series of debates, one in each of the district's 13 northeast Kansas counties. He released a proposed schedule for such debates, noting that each one would be scheduled when Congress is not in session.
Miss Malir called Morgan's proposed schedule a ``gimmick of the week designed to get him press.'' She said Morgan knows that Slattery's schedule likely will become more crowded in the fall.
``This isn't a genuine offer because he knows we can't set up that many,'' she said.