THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT ON H.R. 831
I intend to sign H.R. 831 because it reinstates and expands a much needed law that allows 3.2 million self-employed Americans and their families to deduct 25 percent of the cost of their health insurance, increasing to 30 percent in 1995.
This legislation is good for the country. I included it as part of my health reform bill last year because it restores fairness and security to an important group of Americans who work hard and play by the rules. Absent my approval of this legislation, almost 3.2 million self-employed workers -- doctors, lawyers, farmers, artists, accountants -- would not be able to claim this deduction for health insurance premiums on their 1994 income tax returns. By making this deduction permanent, we are treating them more like other businesses and we are making them more competitive. And by making health care more affordable, we are shrinking the ranks of the uninsured and expanding coverage for more middle-class Americans.
Because this health care benefit is so important, I will sign this legislation. But, I am troubled by the fact that the conference committee took out a provision of law that simply would have required billionaires who made their money in this country to pay the taxes they owe. Instead, they decided to let them evade American income taxes by giving up their American citizenship. This is wrong. Billionaires who make their fortunes in this country ought to pay taxes here like everyone else. I am going to work to change this law in the future.
In addition, this bill carves out a special exception for one pending deal. This is the kind of dealing that goes on all the time in Washington.
That's why we need a line-item veto that covers both spending and special tax provisions. When I get it I can assure you I will use it to weed out special interest loopholes like the one in this bill.
But, because of the important benefits of this legislation to our nation's self-employed and their families, I could not justify a veto. The economic and health care interests of 3.2 million Americans and their families are too important to be held hostage.