What: All Issues : Fair Taxation : More Equitable Distribution of Tax Burden : Title:S Con Res 21. (Fiscal 2008 budget resolution), Gregg of New Hampshire motion to instruct conferees to allow for the extension of certain tax cuts/On the motion (2007 senate Roll Call 161)
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Title:S Con Res 21. (Fiscal 2008 budget resolution), Gregg of New Hampshire motion to instruct conferees to allow for the extension of certain tax cuts/On the motion
senate Roll Call 161     May 09, 2007
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This vote was on an amendment by Judd Gregg, R-N.H., instructing conferees on the fiscal 2008 budget resolution to insist that the final measure reject what he called a large tax increase, and instead allow for certain expiring tax cuts to be extended. These include the 10 percent tax bracket for individuals earning less than $15,000 per year, a student loan deduction, an adoption tax credit and lower marginal tax rates for families and small businesses.

These "motions to instruct" are intended to provide guidance to the conferees on a bill (conferees are members of the House and Senate who meet to hammer out the two chambers' differences on legislation). Motions to instruct are not binding on conferees, and as such mostly serve as a platform from which lawmakers can espouse points of view on a range of topics, or to put the majority of the chamber on record as endorsing an idea that lawmakers want members of the conference committee to act on.

The amendment was offered to the budget resolution that serves as the blueprint for Congress' budget priorities in fiscal 2008. The budget resolution sets overall spending targets for the Appropriations committees and outlines other budget rules.

Gregg's amendment would, in essence, instruct conferees to reject what he says is a more than $900 billion tax increase in the underlying bill, and instead extend tax breaks already in place, including those for children, adoption, marriage, military families, college tuition and more, which he said would stimulate the economy and eventually produce more tax revenues.

"I would ask that, instead of increasing taxes by the largest amount in history on the American people, we continue tax policies which have produced this huge economic expansion," Gregg said.

Kent Conrad, D-N.D., said Gregg is simply wrong, and that the budget resolution does not raise taxes. "It is a great speech. It is the same speech the Republicans have delivered for 20 years. They are so used to it, they keep giving it. It doesn't matter what the facts are or what the budget is before us. There is no big tax increase that is in this budget. In fact, there is no tax increase that is contained in this budget," Conrad said. "I don't know what the Republicans are going to say next year when there has been no tax increase, after all these speeches about the biggest tax increase in history. What are they going to say? I can hardly wait until next year. I am looking forward to that."

By a vote of 44-51, the Senate rejected the amendment. Democrats were united in voting the amendment down, while most Republicans voted for it (two did not: Olympia Snowe of Maine and George Voinovich of Ohio). Thus, the budget resolution went forward without language instructing conferees to extend a large number of tax cuts, and reject what the amendment said is a more than $900 billion tax increase.

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