House Ready to Move Clean Military Tax Relief Legislation

Posted March 19, 2003 at 2:18pm

The House is poised Wednesday to pass a military tax-relief bill that was pulled from the floor earlier this month after it was overloaded with special-interest provisions.

Sensing revolt, House leaders pulled the bill March 6 and have since retooled it. What came to the floor Tuesday was a “clean” bill that gives military personnel $835 million in tax relief over 10 years — and nothing else.

“I congratulate the Ways and Means Chairman Bill Thomas (R-Calif.) for taking the bulbs, baubles and whistles off of the Christmas tree that they stacked on this bill initially,” said Rep. Charlie Rangel (N.Y.), the committee’s top Democrat, said in a statement.

“And I am glad to see that we are bringing a clean bill to the floor and that it is not bogged down with fish tackle boxes, and foreign betters on horse races,” Rangel added on the floor, referring to the questionable provisions that initially threatened to sink the bill.

The House is expected to pass the measure tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the unrelated tax measures — minus the most controversial, such as the provision that would have exempted foreigners betting on U.S. horse races from paying taxes on their winnings — were tacked onto a bill that included tax breaks for the families of the fallen Columbia astronauts.

Thomas stressed the bill, which passed by voice vote, only included provisions that either passed the House previously or were adopted by voice vote in committee.

For example, the bill would repeal the 10 percent excise tax on fishing tackle boxes because similar boxes are not subject to the tax.