President Clinton issued his long-promised veto on Saturday and dashed the hopes of married couples everywhere who were hoping for a tax cut this year. In a confusing message, Clinton stated first that the elimination of the marriage tax penalty would take too much revenue away from the government and more than use up the federal surplus about which we keep hearing so much.
Upon closer examination, it is clear than Clinton believes no such thing. Instead, he held out from signing the tax relief bill because Congress would not accommodate Clinton’s wish to tie a Medicare prescription drug program to this bill. On one hand, Clinton said he refused to sign the bill because, “We can’t afford a $2 trillion U-turn on the path of fiscal discipline and economic progress.”
Speaking out of the other side of his mouth, Clinton said he would sign the bill if Congressional Republicans pass an “affordable, voluntary” Medicare prescription drug benefit that is appealing to Democrats.
So will the marriage tax penalty cost too much or not? Apparently the economics of the tax bill are not of interest to Clinton if he gets his way with the Medicare provision. Meanwhile, Congress has vowed to keep its tax bills pure this year and not muddy them with non-related provisions, so they refuse to add the Medicare provision to this bill.
House and Senate GOP leaders have said they will attempt an override to Clinton's veto of the marriage tax relief bill.