WASHINGTON- The United States Senate yesterday passed an amendment to reduce the amount of President Bush\’s tax relief proposal from $1.6 trillion to $1.1 trillion.

Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform and a leading taxpayer advocate, issued the following statement in response to the disappointing vote by the Senate:

"Yesterday, 49 Democrats and three Republicans in the Senate told working Americans that tax relief of $4.38 per day, or $1,600 per year, for an average family of four is just too much.  How can $4.38 per day be too much?

"These 52 Senators, who each make approximately $140,000 per year, apparently believe that average working families don\’t need meaningful tax relief.  These Senators, who sit in their plush, taxpayer-funded offices, want to keep that money in Washington, DC where they can control it.

"Particularly surprising were some of the Senators who voted to reduce the amount of tax relief:  the three Republicans, Lincoln Chafee (R-RI), Arlen Specter (R-PA), and Jim Jeffords (R-VT) and Democrats Ben Nelson (D-NE), John Breaux (D-LA), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Max Baucus (D-MT), Max Cleland (D-GA), and Mary Landrieu (D-LA).

"It should be noted that the above-mentioned Democrats are from states Bush won overwhelmingly in the election:  Bush won 63% in Nebraska, 60% in South Dakota, 58% in Montana, 55% in Georgia, and 53% in Louisiana.  Clearly, the voters in these states want their Senators to vote for the President\’s tax relief proposal.

"Interestingly, Sens. Johnson, Baucus, Cleland, and Landrieu are all up for reelection in 2002.  We plan to inform their constituents back home that their Senators don\’t think working Americans need meaningful tax relief.

"Many of these Senators will end up in big trouble back home if they don\’t support the President\’s tax relief plan.

"We will be watching these Senators in the coming weeks and we\’ll be working to ensure that the voices of their constituents are heard here in Washington, DC.  We intend to mobilize thousands of activists throughout these states by sending out more than 100,000 emails and working with grassroots activists. 

"We will soon begin a huge push to appear on radio and television in these Senators\’ states and we will take their message to the people for them:  they don\’t think meaningful tax relief for working families is important.

"These Senators need to understand that the public overwhelmingly supports the President\’s tax relief proposal because it offers meaningful tax relief while still paying down the debt and continuing to adequately fund programs like education, social security, and Medicare."