GEPHARDT LAMBASTS DOLE FOR HOLDING GATT ‘HOSTAGE’

Byline: Joyce Barrett

WASHINGTON — As the White House continued negotiations Monday to get support from Senate Minority Leader Bob Dole (R., Kan.) for the upcoming vote on GATT, House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt (D., Mo.) blast ed Dole’s demand for a capital gains tax cut in exchange for that backing.
Gephardt issued a statement saying Dole was holding next week’s planned vote on the implementing legislation for the worldwide trade pact “hostage.” Gephardt said it was the “kind of blatant, back-room horse-trading that has made so many Americans cynical about their legislative leaders.”
“Whose side are the Republicans on, anyway?” he continued. “The capital gains tax cut is nothing more than a giveaway for rich investors…Given today’s roller-coaster competition, if we don’t have GATT, if we can’t bring foreign tariffs down to a level that’s fair and square for our nation, and for all nations, then America’s workers don’t have a fighting chance.”
Late Monday afternoon, Dole, when asked whether he had heard anything from the White House on his capital gains proposal, said, “Nothing yet.”
Earlier in the day, Dole appeared undeterred by statements by White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta that the administration would not agree to the capital gains tax cut. Responding to questions from reporters, Dole said Panetta should take another look at the capital gains tax cut idea.
Dole sent his capital gains tax cut proposal to the White House Friday, and both Dole and Panetta commented on the proposal in TV interviews Sunday.
A former trade official with the Bush White House said all indications were that Dole would make a decision by Thanksgiving on whether to vote for GATT or seek a delay until next year, and was gauging the depth of support for a delay among Senate colleagues.
The Senate is to vote on the agreement Dec. 1, following an expected affirmative House vote Nov. 29, when Congress returns next week for a lame-duck session.
— Fairchild News Service

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