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House Panel Approves Bill to Cut Taxes by $85 Billion Over 5 Years

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From Associated Press

The House Ways and Means Committee early Friday approved a wide-ranging bill to cut taxes by $85 billion over the next five years.

By a 22-16 vote, the committee agreed to send the complex and controversial bill to the House floor after two marathon sessions that stretched to 1:30 a.m. EDT.

The vote came after the committee’s chairman, Rep. Bill Archer (R-Texas), was dealt a stinging setback when half a dozen Republicans joined Democrats to defeat an effort to tax Indian gambling casinos and other businesses.

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Archer had sought to slap $1.9 billion in new taxes over five years on the fast-growing Indian gaming industry to finance the GOP’s $85-billion tax cut proposal.

An unusual alliance of Democrats and Republicans formed behind an amendment sponsored by Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R-Ariz.) to strike the Indian gaming tax. Both sides complained that the proposal was included without any public hearings and said the idea of the federal government taxing sovereign tribal governments created serious constitutional questions.

Earlier, the committee rejected by voice vote a proposal to impose an extra 29-cent-a-pack tax on cigarettes to help fund health insurance for poor children.

And a proposal to eliminate the federal subsidy for ethanol survived a strong challenge in the committee.

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