A joint House/Senate conference committee will proceed with ironing out the differences between the two versions of the marriage tax cut bill that passed in the House and Senate. The differences are small and a finalized version of the bill is expected to emerge from the committee before the end of the week.
The fate of the bill, however, is almost guaranteed – Clinton has promised to veto the bill unless language is added that would augment the current Medicare program with a prescription drug program.
What do prescription drugs for Medicare recipients have to do with the marriage penalty? Clinton has stated that the high visibility of the marriage tax bill makes it an excellent vehicle for launching his pet prescription plan. The House and Senate have held firm in their determination to keep the tax bill pristine. The result will be certain veto from the President.
The other major tax legislation, the repeal of the federal estate tax, is being intentionally delayed in its path to the White House, with legislators hoping either Clinton will decide to sign this repeal into law or that Congress will garner enough support for an override of the veto. Neither of these scenarios seems likely at this time.