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House passes fiscal 2000 budget plan

House passes fiscal 2000 budget plan

One day ahead of schedule, the House Wednesday adopted by a largely party-line vote of 220-208 the conference report on the fiscal 2000 budget resolution-a budget plan that Democrats roundly criticized as "totally inadequate" and "a political document," according to House Budget ranking member John Spratt, D-S.C.

The $7.6 trillion budget plan for the next 10 years retains the $536 billion statutory cap on FY2000 discretionary spending and provides for up to $15 billion in fully offset tax cuts next year, $142 billion in tax cuts over five years and $778 billion over 10 years.

The plan also establishes a point of order to reserve the 10-year projected Social Security surplus of $1.8 trillion to ensure the long-term solvency of both the Social Security and Medicare trust funds, as well as the creation of a $101 billion, 10-year reserve fund that could be tapped to expand Medicare prescription drug benefits.

The budget resolution creates a reserve fund for an FY2000 surplus and calls on the CBO to submit its updated FY2000 economic forecast by July 1 so that if an on-budget surplus is projected it can be tapped for tax cuts, and the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees' reconciliation instructions can be adjusted.

The conference report requires the Ways and Means panel to report out its tax bill by July 16 and Senate Finance to report its bill by July 23.

The Senate-passed amendment to increase mandatory childcare spending by $6 billion paid for out of the money set aside for tax cuts was accommodated in the conference report by providing for childcare-related tax relief of $3 billion over 10 years, and $3 billion in additional spending beginning in 2004.