Washington The Republican marriage penalty bill that would cut taxes for millions of couples beginning this election year neared final passage Thursday in Congress. Democrats called it a waste of budget surplus dollars that President Clinton will veto.
With 51 Democrats joining 219 Republicans and one independent in favor, the House voted 271-156 to send the final compromise to the Senate, where GOP leaders planned to follow suit Friday and dispatch the legislation to the White House before the GOP national convention begins July 31.
Republicans said the bill was a long-overdue remedy to a tax code disparity that forces about 25 million two-income married couples to pay more taxes than if they were single. The GOP said the measure would use just pennies on the dollar of a budget surplus now projected at $2.17 trillion over the next decade, not counting Social Security money.
Clinton has proposed more limited marriage penalty relief but offered to sign an earlier version of the GOP bill if Congress also passed an acceptable prescription drug benefit for Medicare recipients.