Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Democrats Take a Back Seat as Gop Steers

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Democrats Take a Back Seat as Gop Steers

Article excerpt

Vanquished Democrats returned to the Capitol as back-seat drivers Tuesday, plotting reactions to the new Republican direction and announcing plans likely to be ignored by those at the wheel.

The Senate Democratic leader, Tom Daschle of South Dakota, laid out a five-point agenda notable in that it does not offer anybody a tax cut. But he said he is not necessarily against one.

"It has to be targeted to the people who need it the most, and it has to be paid for," said Daschle. But he also said he would not rule out the Republicans' capital gains tax-cut proposal - which generally would benefit successful investors.

House Democrats, in the minority for the first time in four decades, met to figure out what to oppose, support and try to change in the House Republicans' 10-bill "Contract with America." They emerged contending that several reforms Republicans had promised to pass Wednesday were far from historic.

"I must tell you, many of them we have passed in the past, many of them have been taken up by the Congress," said the incoming minority leader, Richard Gephardt, D-Mo.

David Bonior, D-Mich., the incoming minority whip, added: "I don't think they go far enough on reform. We think we ought to go further on reform in terms of the gift ban (on lobbyists' gifts) and the royalty on books."

Bonior also noted that the house passed a key GOP agenda item last year: a requirement that Congress live under the laws it passes for the rest of the nation. …

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