New York Turns to Congress to Undo Veto of Its Tax

Article excerpt

New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani says he is hopeful Congress will overturn President Clinton's line-item veto of a tax that helped his city finance its Medicaid program if an agreement over the cut cannot be worked out with the White House.

"We've talked to the members of Congress about this, and this will go back to Congress," Mr. Giuliani said yesterday on CNN's "Inside Politics Weekend."

"It could be overturned by a majority vote, and we're hopeful they'll do that," he added.

The mayor charged that Mr. Clinton's veto of a federal exemption that has allowed the state of New York to tax health care providers to help cover Medicaid expenses "makes no sense."

The tax was one of three items in the balanced-budget legislation that Mr. Clinton elected to kill with his new line-item veto authority.

The president said his action would save $200 million in federal Medicaid reimbursements over five years. But New York officials and the state's entire congressional delegation were outraged, and Gov. George Pataki urged court action to overturn the president's veto.

Mr. Clinton seemed surprised by the hostile response. Officials of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Health Care Financing Administration, which oversees Medicaid, promptly let it be known they were eager to try to negotiate a settlement with New York.

Asked yesterday on CNN if a deal involving New York City, New York State, and the administration has been struck to undo that particular line-item veto, Mr. Giuliani replied, "Not yet."

But he acknowledged there has been dialogue with the president about the matter. "We've talked to the president about it. We've talked to the White House about it" and to members of Congress, he said.

If Congress overturns the Clinton veto, Mr. Giuliani said, "we're hopeful that President Clinton, who may have vetoed this for other reasons, other reasons in which he didn't fully understand what this was for, we're hopeful that he will not, at that point, veto it and [will] restore it. …