P.M. BRIEFING : Tax Increase Needed to Cut Back Deficit, Rep. Rostenkowski Argues

From Times wire services

Rep. Dan Rostenkowski, head of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, argued today that a tax increase would be needed to cut the deficit and he questioned President Bush’s plan to freeze, rather than reduce, the defense budget.

At a hearing with Richard G. Darman, the Administration’s budget director, Rostenkowski (D-Ill.) said he believes that Bush’s budget plan--which would not raise taxes but would cut a variety of domestic programs--is “not politically realistic.”

“When I total all these cuts, the defense budget has not been cut at all and there are domestic cuts of $20 billion,” Rostenkowski said.

“Once again, I think a revenue component is going to have to be part” of any budget agreement between Congress and the White House, Rostenkowski said. “I think the Administration ought to think very seriously about its stand in cement on revenue.”


Darman showed no indication that the President plans to back away from his campaign pledge to not raise taxes. Bush, however, has indicated that he may support some new revenues, as long as they could be considered as “user fees.”