President Clinton, pushing to take back political momentum from Republicans, promised Saturday to provide details Monday on how he would pay for a $60 billion middle-class tax cut.
In his weekly radio address, the president also touted the education tax credits central to the tax cut plan he proposed Thursday evening and called it his "Bill of Rights" for America's middle class.Clinton and top aides have provided details on the tax-cut proposals but have given few specifics on how he would pay for them.
They have said only that a freeze on domestic spending increases would be extended for two years and some government departments and agencies would be slimmed down.
"Of course, we have to pay for all this," Clinton said in his radio address. He said that Monday morning, he and Vice President Al Gore "will outline these cuts in more detail."
On a day that gunshots were fired at the White House and two 9mm bullets were found on the south side of the mansion, Clinton ventured out to suburban Annandale, Va., to make his address from Northern Virginia Community College. (Story on Page A1.)
He specifically touted the education tax credits included in his tax-cut plan, which is competing with similar proposals from the Republicans who won control of Congress in Nov. 8 elections and with one from fellow Democrats as well.
The tax cuts proposed by Republican Sen. Phil Gramm of Texas takes a "meat ax approach" to budget cutting and is "an irresponsible way to approach cutting the budget," White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta said on CNN's "Evans & Novak."
Gramm's plan would cut spending in departments including Education, Labor and Energy by 16 percent to finance the tax cut.
Clinton has decided to pay for his proposed tax cuts by streamlining and consolidating programs at the Department of Energy, Department of Housing & Urban Development, the Government Services Agency, the Office of Personnel Management and at the Department of Transportation, Panetta said.
On incoming Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Panetta said, "I think both of us understand each other." He added, "I fully expect that we're going to be able to work with him in this next session."
One part of Clinton's plan would allow families making less than $120,000 a year to deduct up to $10,000 a year in tuition costs for college, community college, graduate school, vocational college and worker retraining.
"Too many people are being priced out of a shot at high-quality education. If we can't change that we are at risk of losing our great American middle class and becoming a two-tiered society with a few successful people at the top and everyone else struggling below," Clinton said.
The Republican response was positive to this element of Clinton's plan. Rep. Steven LaTourette, R-Ohio, responding to the radio address, said the president's proposal "is something I believe we can agree on."
His plan would also give families with incomes of up to $75,000 a tax credit of $500 for each child under 13. It would raise the income ceiling for tax-deferred retirement accounts to $100,000 per family.