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WALDHOLTZ LOVES IT, HANSEN LIKES IT AND ORTON LOATHES IT

Reps. Jim Hansen and Enid Waldholtz, R-Utah, say the 100-day sprint through the "Contract With America" accomplished more than even they dared hope - and changed America forever.

But Rep. Bill Orton, D-Utah, says it was cheap political theatrics that provided little that will be finally passed into law after the Senate finishes with it. And he says the only worthwhile portions of the contract were copied from Democrats.That came as the House finished the contract Wednesday by passing 246-188 a $189 billion tax cut - including a $500-per-child tax credit, cuts in the capital gains tax, ending marriage tax penalties and allowing versatile individual retirement accounts.

But as with many contract parts, Utah's House members had vastly different opinions about the tax cut. Waldholtz praised it; Orton condemned it; and Hansen voted for it but hoped provisions raising pension payments by federal employees will be dropped by the Senate.

"The tax cut is typical of much of the contract. It was hastily pasted together and rammed through," Orton said. For example, he said GOP leaders would not accept amendments to protect federal workers from increased pension payments "because they needed money from somewhere to pay for their tax cut, so they put it on the backs of federal workers."

Hansen - whose district has the third most federal employees of any nationally - opposed raising pension payments on current federal employees "so we don't change the rules on them." Leaders blocked that, he said, for fear it could lead to too many amendments that would block paying for proposed tax cuts.

"I voted for it (the overall bill) anyway, and will probably get a lot of people mad at me. But I bet those (pension) provisions will be changed in the Senate and won't be in the final bill," he said.

Waldholtz had nothing but praise for the tax cut. She said, "The bill ensures cuts are paid for and will not add to the deficit." She said, "The American people are simply overtaxed," and pay more in taxes than for food, clothing and shelter combined.

The delegation also had differing views on the overall contract and the 100 days of work on it.

"I think it's clear most of the nation recognizes that the contract and the first 100 days was just a political statement," Orton said. "Many members on the other side are hoping that the Senate saves them from the provisions they passed.

He added that the good parts "were plagiarized from the Democrats." He said that included items some Democrats had long pushed such as term limits, the balanced budget amendment, making Congress obey laws it passes and budget reform.

But Waldholtz scoffed, "Would those be the same provisions they were never able to pass? They had 40 years to pass those things and didn't. We did in the first 100 days."

Waldholtz said, "There will be some changes in Senate, but we have advanced changes that people have demanded for years . . .. The question then becomes, how much will President Clinton dare to veto."

Hansen said, "Americans probably got more out of the first 100 days of this Congress than anyone in their lifetime can remember."

Waldholtz and Hansen also say the party deserves more credit than it has received in the national press.

"I've been very disappointed as I've read in national newspapers headlines saying the contract is falling apart. They predicted we couldn't pass welfare reform, or we couldn't pass the tax package. If we paid attention to the national media, we all would have gone home weeks ago," Waldholtz said.

"Any objective observer who looks at what this Congress achieved in 100 days would have to have to say it was extraordinary by any measure, she said. "It has changed the way Washington does business forever."

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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Package provisions

The House approved the tax-cut plan 246-188 on Wednesday. The plan would cost $189 billion over five years.

KEY PROVISIONS:

FAMILY

- $500-per-child for children under 18 in families earning $200,000 a year or less. Would be phased out for the wealthiest families.

- A credit of up to $145 to help offset the "marriage penalty."

- The American Dream Savings Account, permitting tax-free withdrawals after five years for retirement, first-time home purchases, higher education, medical expenses.

- One-time adoption credit of up to $5,000.

- Annual credit of up to $500 for costs of caring for elderly relatives at home.

BUSINESS

- Reduces capital gains tax for corporations and individuals.

- Phases out the corporate minimum tax

- Increases size of estates exempt from estate and gift taxes from $600,000 to $750,000 by 1998.

- Liberalizes rules on deducting expenses of home offices.

SOCIAL SECURITY

- Rolls back 1993 tax increase on higher-income Social Security recipients. Increases income recipients younger than 70 may earn and still receive full Social Security benefits from $11,280 a year to $30,000 by 2000.