Clinton Promises to Veto Marriage Penalty Relief

By Bruce Sullivan | July 7, 2008 | 8:25 PM EDT

Washington ( - President Bill Clinton promised early Thursday during a meeting with Congressional Democrats to veto the Republican marriage penalty tax relief bill, which passed later in the afternoon by a 268-158 vote.

Clinton along with the Democrat House leadership voiced strong opposition to any GOP tax cut plan. "We need to enact responsible tax cuts that support families and provide educational opportunity. But the tax cuts that are being taken up in the House today are the wrong way," said House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt (D-MO).

The president, while he called for tax relief from the marriage penalty in his State of the Union address in January, said he would veto the GOP Marriage Penalty Relief Act of 2000 (HR-6), which cuts taxes by $182 billion over ten years for all couples who file jointly. The president says he would support tax relief targeted more towards lower income Americans.

"We should generally ease the marriage penalty for lower and middle-income groups," said Clinton in a speech delivered at the Library of Congress to House and Senate Democrats.

Passage of the bill was all but assured in the House where the GOP said they had about 20 Democratic co-sponsors for it.

Gephardt's press secretary, Sue Harvey, told early Thursday that the Republican leadership has done little to work on a compromise tax cut plan with the Democratic leadership.

"I don't see any serious attempt at negotiations on their side," Harvey told

Yesterday, House Republican leaders sent a letter to Gephardt asking him to support their marriage tax cut proposal, but they have not received a response.