The key budget players


The chairmen of the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee will be the key players in deciding how $190 billion worth of spending cuts and tax increases are made.

HOUSE:Dan Rostenkowski, of Illinois.

Chairman, Ways and Means Committee, since 1981.

Born: Jan. 2, 1928

First elected: House 1958. Continuous service.

Tough bargainer, a wily, rumpled graduate of the Chicago school of politics. Friend of George Bush.

Opposes capital gains tax breaks, favors progressive tax rates, resists opening loopholes. Reluctantly supported the failed Bush-congressional leadership budget summit plan, but vowed to soften its Medicare cuts and increases in sin taxes on alcohol and tobacco.

SENATE: Lloyd Bentsen, of Texas.

Chairman, Senate Finance Committee, since 1987.

Born: Feb. 11, 1921.

First elected: House 1948 for six years; Senate 1970.

Aristocratic, cool and businesslike. Vice presidential candidate in 1988. Pro-business, champion of oil and gas interests.

Favors reducing capital gains tax rate if balanced by higher tax rates for the rich. Reluctantly supported failed Bush-congressional leadership budget summit plan, but intends to reduce its proposed 12-cent-per-gallon tax increase on gasoline to only 9 cents per gallon and wants to soften its Medicare cuts. Sin taxes would remain same as summit proposal.

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