President Bush's new message strategy for selling his troubled tax-relief plan is to tie tax cuts to job creation. The House has approved his tax-cut package intact, but senators are intent on paring it back and are debating how much tax relief to allow. "When they ask you how much," the president told supporters at a tax-cut rally last week, "what you ought to say is, enough to make sure that we create a million new jobs by the end of 2004. That's the definition of the right amount." With unemployment hitting 6 percent-and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi calling it "the worst job slump since the Great Depression"-the White House released a new report from the Council of Economic Advisers estimating that the president's original $726 billion tax-cut plan would create 1.4 million jobs in 2003 and 2004. The House passed a revised $550 billion tax cut. The White House would support that compromise on the belief that it is sufficient to create more than 1 million jobs. The Senate's $350 billion tax-cut proposal would create 425,000 fewer jobs, the Bush administration says, and shouldn't be taken seriously. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) has a new $415 billion plan on the table, but GOP liberals won't budge. So President Bush has decided to turn up the heat on lawmakers in Washington to pass the biggest plan possible. He launched a nationwide tax-cut campaign and last week took Air Force One to Little Rock, Ark., to get back to the kind of retail politics he couldn't do during the war. He met with small business owners. He gave a major address on jobs and economic growth. And he fired up the crowd with news that his plan "would cut the taxes on 705,000 individuals and households in the state of Arkansas," including 62,000 seniors there who pay taxes on dividend income.
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