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Thurman says budget targets the elderly

Like almost all Democrats in Congress, U.S. Rep. Karen Thurman this week voted against a Republican-crafted budget plan that calls for a balanced federal budget by 2002.

Thurman supported the concept of a balanced budget. However, she renewed her opposition to the plan, saying some budget cuts targeted seniors; that other cuts were too ill-defined; and that tax breaks were going to wealthier Americans while cuts were coming at the expense of those more in need.

The measure also includes a cut in the capital gains tax and a $500 per-child tax cut for families. In all, the plan envisions $245-billion in tax cuts.

The plan caps at 6.4 percent the annual growth in the Medicare system; it currently increases 10 percent each year. Medicaid growth is limited to 7 percent next year and 4 percent in 1998.

In all, the Medicare and Medicaid changes would save $450-billion in seven years.

The House of Representatives passed the measure 239-194 Thursday, and the Senate followed suit later in the day with a 54-46 vote. The votes were largely along party lines, with only eight House Democrats approving it and none in the Senate.