New Speech, Same Old Battle

The budget surplus should be returned to American taxpayers, Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., said Saturday.

Santorum, speaking in the weekly GOP radio address, said two pieces of legislation passed this year by the Republican-controlled Congress would have given some tax relief to American families. One bill aimed at the so-called marriage penalty has already been vetoed by President Clinton, and a veto threat hangs over another bill that would eliminate the estate tax.

Mr. Clinton has argued that the tax cuts would cause deficits, and that just as many married couples benefit from a quirk in the tax code as pay more. He has also characterized an estate tax cut as a benefit for the rich.

Santorum said some survivors are forced to sell off family farms and small businesses to pay the estate tax.

"Families that work together to build a business should be able to pass it on to their children," he said. "Local, family owned business enrich our towns, small communities and cities with new jobs and new opportunities."

Santorum is running for chairman of the Republican Conference, the No. 3 leadership spot in the Senate majority, assuming he wins a second term in the November election. Sen. Paul Coverdell, R-Ga., who died last month, had announced plans to run for chairman to replace Sen. Connie Mack, R-Fla., who is not seeking re-election in November.

© 2000, The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed