Tax cut: river runs strong for Reagan's plan

Politics Reagan style is keeping the Democrats on the run. Conservative House Democrats, pricked by President Reagan's recent criticism, now talk openly about sticking with their more liberal colleagues behind spending reductions not palatable to the President.

But Hill observers point to the President's popularity and say the voters -- after listening to Mr. Reagan on TV Tuesday -- may well persuade conservatives House Democrats to think again before resisting the President on how he wants the spending cuts made.

On the surface it appears that the President's attack on House Democrats for not making what he believes are sensible spending cuts has tended to unify his opposition in that chamber.

But unity on what? House majority leader Jim Wright (D) of Texas was cheered by his colleagues for a speech that was highly critical of Reagan for "misleading" the public in his press conference comments on House action on spending reductions.

However, Mr. Wright's comments contained an admission that in point of fact the Democrats in the House were quite aware they were complying with the President's wishes -- and not the other way around.

"The President is responsible for all these cuts, and now he has the audacity to blame us," said Wright. "This is the President's bill. Here we are in this position where we're doing the cuts and the hard work, and he's blaming us for doing what he asked us to do."

At the same time that House Democrats were showing some resistance to the President on spending cuts, they continued to move toward support of Reagan's three-year, across-the-board tax-reduction plan.

Further, House Republicans now appear nearly ready to vote as a bloc in support of his proposal.

Rep. Barber Conable (R) of New York admits to some doubts about backing a tax cut for a third year. But he indicates that some of the growing appeal of the Reagan proposal among Republicans and House Democratic conservatives comes from the fact that the Democratic House leadership now seems headed toward a bill unacceptable to those with conservative leanings.

Observers also point out that this movement in the House toward support of the President's tax cuts is very likely to sweep along with it House backing for Reagan's spending reductions.

Early checks into public reaction has shown that Reagan's popularity was enhanced by his press conference performance. And it appears that members of both chambers are heeding the message that the public is rallying behind Reagan in his call that his "mandate" on the economy be honored by Congress.

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