One Addition Too Many: Republicans Pull Military Tax Bill

Posted March 6, 2003 at 3:10pm

Smelling defection, House Republican leaders on Thursday pulled from the floor a bill designed to give tax breaks to military personnel.

The measure had become a magnet for special-interest provisions and would have cost about $478 million, according to preliminary figures released by the Joint Taxation Committee.

Besides helping those serving their country, it would have repealed excise taxes on items such as bows and arrows and fishing tackle boxes, and would have lifted the tax paid by foreigners who place bets on horse races in this country.

Democrats objected to the additions, but after the Rules Committee added a provision to save millions of dollars for companies that incorporate overseas, Republicans cried foul as well.

Citing the “concerns” of his fellow Republicans, Majority Leader Tom DeLay (Texas) said the Ways and Means Committee would revisit the bill and try to produce something “everybody can vote for” within days.

Democrats considered the move a win and hope a “clean” bill will be brought to the floor next week.

“Today, a significant number of House Republicans joined with Democrats in their distaste for the maneuvering on this bipartisan bill important to those on the front lines,” Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said. “Democrats will work to bring back to the House floor the Armed Services Tax Fairness Act without these special-interest provisions.”