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DEMO LEADERS TARGET CAPITAL-GAINS TAX CUT

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Democratic leaders claim they have the votes in the Senate to kill President Bush's capital-gains tax cut but concede a watered-down version may get through Congress this year.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Thomas S. Foley predicted Sunday that the House probably will vote this week to repeal the Medicare catastrophic health care coverage that it enacted only last year."I hope personally that the program is retained on a modified form," Foley, D-Wash., said on NBC's "Meet the Press" program. "But . . . there are a great number of Republicans and some Democrats in the House who are in favor of repeal. If I were guessing today, I think it probably would be repealed."

Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, D-Maine, also appearing on NBC, likened the House-passed version of Bush's cut in capital gains taxes to the cocaine-based drug crack and said flatly that the Senate will not enact it.

"It is so bad, so wrong for the economy," he said. "It will do for the deficit what crack does for the user: a quick short high followed by a long, painful depression."

The Senate Finance Committee plans this week to consider an alternative proposed by Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, D-Texas, and endorsed by a majority of Senate Democrats which would instead restore partial tax deductibility for contributions to Individual Retirement Accounts.