Dispatches > The Buzz

Flash Traffic

Political buzz from Washington

Issue: "California school shooting," March 17, 2001

Senate Democratic leaders are digging in their heels for a protracted partisan fight over tax cuts ... Republicans hope to round up three to six Democrats to support the president's plan ... Georgia's Sen. Zell Miller is already on board ... GOP sources say their top tax cut targets include Georgia Sen. Max Cleland ... Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson ... Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln ... Louisiana Sens. John Breaux and Mary Landrieu ... Delaware Sen. Tom Carper ... and South Dakota Sen. Tim Johnson ... Rush Limbaugh warns conservatives the proposed GOP tax cut is far too small and phased-in far too slowly to keep the economy out of a possible recession ... Limbaugh calls some congressional Republicans "cowards" for not "front-loading" President Bush's tax cut ... he notes the president proposes a $1.6 trillion tax cut over 10 years ... the first-year installment of tax relief, therefore, should be $160 billion ... but the House passed a plan only worth some $6 billion in the first year ... House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas finds his phone lines melting down ... says Rush needs to understand "the art of the possible" ... "Nine of the last 12 tax bills in Congress have been tax increases, only three were tax cuts, and none ever moved this fast," said Mark Weinberger, the new assistant treasury secretary for tax policy, in a closed-door meeting of CEOs gathered for an American Council of Life Insurers meeting in Washington ... Weinberger surprises some by declaring: "I'm not a wild-eyed supply-side Republican" ... but then goes on to defend not only the Bush tax cut plan but across-the-board tax cuts by Reagan and JFK as well ... notes revenues went up 94 percent after the Reagan tax cuts, but Congress spent even more ... "That won't happen with this president" ... Conservative GOP Congressmen quickly unveil the "Economic Recovery and Growth Act" to accelerate and increase the tax cut plan to $2 trillion ... 30 members have signed on ... led by Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Steve Largent of Oklahoma, and Paul Ryan of Wisconsin ... House Majority Leader Dick Armey agrees more is needed ... "We need to send a signal to Americans that help is on the way. I think we can convince the White House to go along" ... The Issues Management CenterÑrun by former Forbes campaign manager Bill Dal Col, former Dole campaign manager Scott Reed, and former Buchanan communications director Greg MuellerÑlaunches ads in targeted states using tape of President John F. Kennedy making the case for pro-growth tax rate cuts ... Seventy percent of seniors now believe it is essential that President Bush and Congress pass an across-the-board tax cut in the next six months, according to a new poll by John McLaughlin & Associates ... 51 percent of seniors who voted for Gore now support tax rate cuts ... support among Independent seniors has climbed to a whopping 74 percent ... why? ... economic fears ... example: 56 percent of seniors who voted for Gore now believe the U.S. economy is headed toward a recession ... 63 percent of all seniors are now worried that the weakening economy and fluctuating stock market will hurt their retirement investments this year ... Attorney General John Ashcroft selects Ralph Boyd Jr., a black attorney from Boston, as assistant attorney general for civil rights ... Boyd is a 1984 graduate of Harvard Law School ... was a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney's office in Boston ... in private practice he once filed suit against the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) for trying to shut down one of his clients, a medical laboratory in Massachusetts ... Boyd has no paper trail on civil-rights issues ... sources say that's exactly what is needed to ease the confirmation process ... the buzz among conservatives is that Boyd "is one of us" ... Vice President Dick Cheney's son-in-law, Phil Perry, has quietly emerged as a top adviser to Ashcroft ... also working closely with Ashcroft on personnel and strategy is Paul McNulty, a top GOP legal adviser to Rep. Henry Hyde during the impeachment battle É

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Joel C. Rosenberg
Joel C. Rosenberg


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