Gilchrest has high hopes for reforms 2 parties disagreeing less, congressman says

July 05, 1996|By Tanya Jones | Tanya Jones,SUN STAFF

Before U.S. Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest got a chance to play the piano and sing at his town meeting in Annapolis Wednesday night, he explained to more than 70 constituents his positions on Medicare reform, capital gains tax reductions and abortion.

For more than an hour, Gilchrest talked and took questions from the audience at the Maryland Hall for the Performing Arts.

Gilchrest told listeners they should be optimistic about Congress' ability to balance the budget by 2002 and reform Medicare, welfare and Social Security. "The philosophy of government responsibility has significantly changed," he said.

And, although Democrats and Republicans are no longer far apart on many issues such as Medicare, much controversy remains among Republicans, he said.

On Medicare reform, for example, Republican and Democrat proposals are not far apart, he said.

Larry Shaffer, 73, of Bay Ridge was glad to hear that Gilchrest supports raising Medicare premiums for senior citizens with higher incomes. "I agree that those that can afford it ought to pay for it," Shaffer said.

Higher premiums for senior citizens earning more than $70,000 a year, along with other Medicare reforms, would help balance the budget, Gilchrest said.

Gilchrest, who will face Democrat Steve R. Eastaugh in November, said he would continue to support cutting capital gains taxes.

On abortion, Gilchrest said his "basic position" is pro-choice but that he would stand by his vote supporting a ban on partial birth abortions, which President Clinton vetoed in April.

Pub Date: 7/05/96

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