Republicans and Democrats joined forces in the Senate today, passing a bill that would eliminate the marriage penalty portion of our beloved tax code over a period of 10 years. The bill passed by a 61-38 margin. Now the House, which has passed a similar bill, will combine the two and present a final version to President Clinton, perhaps as early as this week.
Clinton has already promised to veto the bill when it arrives on his desk on the eve of the Republican National Convention. So why bother having the vote? These Senators and Representatives must be hoping to score points on their home election turfs, even though they'll score no points in Washington.
The marriage penalty has been a frustrating part of the tax code for way too long and many argue that there is no justifiable reason why individuals should be taxed on the same income at different rates depending on their marital status.
Clinton, in fact, recognizes the inequity associated with this portion of the tax law, but threatens to refuse to sign the bill until Congress puts in some language about a prescription drug plan for Medicare recipients. Clinton's request of course has nothing to do with the marriage penalty. He seems to care more about slipping his own programs into a bill that both houses of Congress embrace, than making life simpler and more fair for the taxpaying public.
There is some outside hope that Clinton will not veto this bill. Senate Majority Leader, Trent Lott, has commented that he believes the President will sign the bill. "If he doesn't, how is he going explain it because he called for it in the State of the Union (speech)?"
If the marriage tax penalty issue doesn't get resolved on this go-round, you can count on our senators and representatives to keep this issue alive.