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BUSH SLAMS DEMOS FOR PLAN TO HIKE TAXES ON RICH; VETO LIKELY

President Bush on Tuesday assailed Democratic bills that would raise taxes on the wealthy, saying a tax increase now "is simply not acceptable."

Bush huddled with Republican leaders to map strategy for a certain veto of the tax bill. He also decried a pending budget bill for fiscal 1993 that he said would bust the lid on domestic spending."There's got to be no mistake about this: Raising taxes on the American people given the situation is simply not acceptable, and I'm going to veto that tax increase bill as soon as it is sent to me," said Bush.

The House has already discarded Bush's short-term economic recovery plan and passed its own bill that would cut taxes for the middle-class and raise them on the wealthy. The Senate was taking up its own version later today.

Bush also denounced the budget bill taking shape in Congress. Although he said last week that the 1990 budget agreement was "a mistake," he still wants lawmakers to abide by its ceilings on deficit spending.

"It's kind of hard to believe that they are trying not only to raise taxes, but to eliminate the best - perhaps the only - real fiscal discipline that we have," said the president.

"That latest end run on controlling government spending is also destined to be sent right back once it hits this desk," said Bush. "I cannot accept busting the caps on discretionary domestic spending."

Earlier, White House Chief of Staff Samuel H. Skinner told reporters there was still "a faint hope" that a deal could be struck in conference committee to get a recovery bill that does not raise taxes.