Front-page coverage of the latest round of Congress' budget reconciliation {"Split House Adopts Democrats' Budget," Oct. 17} not only presented a skewed picture of the budget debate but also contained misleading information.

The Post reported in the story's subhead {"GOP Alternative Misses Deficit Target"} that House Republicans failed to produce an alternative budget proposal that met the deficit target. Conveniently left out was the fact that the Republican alternative budget proposal, which Democrats on the House Committee on Rules refused to allow to be debated on the floor of the House, would exceed $400 billion in real deficit reductions over five years without raising taxes. (Ironically, the subhead implies that the Republican alternative was in fact offered.)

With 76 percent of the American people opposed to new tax increases, the Democrats on Rules were fearful of the public outcry that would occur if Americans learned Congress doesn't need to raise taxes in order to balance the budget. Democrats were so afraid of going on the record as opposing the very thing their constituents want that they wouldn't even let the House debate the Republican alternative, which Reps. Carl D. Pursell (Mich.) and John R. Kasich (Ohio) sought to offer.

The first paragraph of the article stated that the Democrats' deficit-reduction package would significantly raise income taxes on the wealthy and provide tax breaks for the poor and middle class. This lead is untrue, as the article says paragraphs later. In the middle of page A14 the story contradicted its lead and aknowledged that the Democrats' package includes a provision that would increase income taxes for all but the richest Americans. This provision, which would delay inflation adjustments to tax brackets and personal exemptions for one year, would increase taxes for even the poorest taxpayers.

Although I eventually found the truth about the budget debate buried in the article, the average American never read it during the 10 minutes he or she spent with the newspaper over a cup of coffee. Most Post readers wrongly believe they got a deal -- lower taxes than expected -- and that it was all delivered by the Democrats.

THOMAS J. BLILEY JR. U.S. Representative (R-Va.) Washington

The lead paragraph of the front-page article on the Democrats' budget is explicitly wrong and misleading. It describes "a deficit reduction package crafted by Democrats that would significantly raise income taxes on the wealthy and provide tax breaks for the poor and middle class."

The fact is, the Democrats' plan was a significant tax increase for the working middle class. The Democrats have, once again, taken aim at the wealthy and hit the middle class right between the eyes. Under their plan, a working family of four with taxable income of $44,800 would realize a tax increase of $700. In addition, according to the National Taxpayers Union, during the five-year life of the Democratic budget, a working family of four earning $35,200 of taxable income would have to pay an additional $2,000 in taxes.

The Post owes it to the country to report accurately that the Democrats' plan is a tax increase for all Americans.

NEWT GINGRICH U.S. Representative (R-Ga.) Republican Whip Washington