The House republican leadership yesterday opposed the 1978 congressional budget the House is expected to adopt today because, GOP, spokesmen said, the taxing and spending policies the budget contains will sharply drive up the tax burden of all Americans by 1982.
Minority leader John Rhodes (R-Ariz.), who voted in favor of the preliminary 1978 budget last spring, said that when the "Democrats talked of budget balance, we thought they would do so by cutting expenses . . . Apparently they are going to do it by new taxes."
Rhodes told reporters yesterday that he is switching his vote - as are most of the 20-odd Republicans who voted for the spring budget targets - because of the sharp tax increases the permanent 1978 budget resolution assumes over the next five years.
President Carter has pledged to balance the federal budget by 1981.
Separate House and Senate resolutions - which must be meshed and approved by both houses by Sept. 15 - put the deficit for fiscal 1978, which starts Oct. 1, around $60 billion.
Rhodes said that the new taxes proposed by Carter and assumed in the House version of the 1978 budget, as well as the normal increase in tax burdens that occurs when inflation pushes salaries into ever-higher tax brackets, will increase the federal tax take as a percentage of total output to 22 per cent in 1982 from a recent average of 18.2 per cent.
The new taxes Rhodes cited are energy taxes. Social Security taxes and waterway taxes. Rhodes said the Republican Policy Committee continues to support reducing tax rates across-the-board.
He said the proposed 1978 budget - which, after the House Budget Committee amends it on the floor today, will recommend revenues of $398.1 billion, outlays of $458.7 billion and a deficit of $60.6 billion - has "quite dangerous" inflationary problems as well.
Although Republican support for the 1976 and 1977 budgets has been sparse, the Republican Policy Committee had never taken a stand on one before.
Rhodes said he expects nearly unanimous Republican opposition to the House Budget Committee budget proposal, but that the budget will pass anyway. Rep. Bruce Caputo (R-N.Y.), is expected to try to attach an amendment today to delete aid to South Korea because that country refuses to help the United States in its investigation of Korean bribery of U.S. legislators.
The Senate is also expected to take up and perhaps complete work on, its version of the final 1978 budget.
The main issue the Senate faces is how much to spend for agriculture as a result of sharply higher crop price supports approved by both the House and the Senate (although the conference report on the 1977 farm bill still must be approved).
But the Senate Budget Committee, and its chairman Edmund S. Muskie (D-Maine), is resigned to losing a fight to hold down farm spending.
Muskie will oppose an amendment to be proposed by Sens. Bob Dole (R-Kansas) and Herman Talmadge (D-Ga.) to boost farm spending from $5.6 billion to $6.3 billion, but opponents will not fight hard because the amendment is expected to win easily.
Aides said Muskie wants the Senate to know that it has been steady increases in farm spending since the spring that have pushed up the federal deficit.