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House Passes Kennedy’s Tax Bill

Sept. 25, 1963 - The House of Representatives passed the President Kennedy’s tax bill today, 271 to 155. The President, at Billings, Mont., hailed the vote as a step toward saving the nation from limping from recession to recession. During five hours of debate today, a parade of Republicans denounced the proposed tax cut — the biggest ever — without a curb on spending on the grounds that it would set off an inflationary spiral and greatly increase the national debt. But late in the day, House Republican Leader Charles Halleck (Ind.) conceded defeat. Halleck said “enough arms have been twisted around here” and it is “obvious you [Democrats] are going to run over us.” Administration leaders in Washington called it a major legislative victory for the President at a critical stage of the battle to stimulate the national economy, create jobs, and discourage future recessions. Passage of the measure followed defeat of a Republican-sponsored rider that would have blocked tax reduction unless Federal expenditures were curtailed. The tax bill, if enacted in its present form, would give individuals and corporations $11 billion a year tax relief when its provisions became fully effective in 1965. The measure now goes to the Senate, where prospects for action this session are uncertain. Some Administration supporters fear that a prospective Senate filibuster against civil rights legislation will make it impossible for Congress to complete work on the tax bill before adjournment.

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