WASHINGTON -- White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta said yesterday President Clinton opposes a capital gains tax cut under any circumstances, especially if it is tied to support for passage of the Uruguay Round world trade accord.
Sen. Robert Dole, R-Kan., who will be majority leader in the next Senate, strongly implied the price of his support for the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade accord is the administration's backing of a cut next year in the capital gains tax.
"When it comes to the capital gains issue, I have to tell you that, first of all, it does not have any relationship to the GATT agreement," Mr. Panetta said on Cable News Network in answer to the Dole threat. "I don't think he's going to get a commitment from us that we're suddenly going to support a capital gains tax cut, particularly as part of the GATT agreement."
Mr. Panetta noted the administration has "opposed the kind of proposals we've seen in the past from Republican administrations that would largely favor the wealthy with capital gains tax cuts."
Mr. Dole said earlier yesterday that he "suggested" to Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen that the administration should support a cut in the capital gains tax. Mr. Dole said he would be ready to support GATT if he gets other changes he is seeking and if he receives "some assurances from Mr. Bentsen on capital gains."
Asked what kind of assurances, Mr. Dole said, "the best I can [get]."
Those other changes include extrication from the new accord's World Trade Organization if it makes arbitrary and capricious decisions against the U.S. and the reversal of possibly preferential treatment of some broadcast firms awarded licenses for certain radio-spectrum frequencies.