WASHINGTON (AP) – A tax-cut advocacy group plans to air TV ads in Portland, Maine, targeting Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe for opposing President Bush’s proposed tax cut.

Bush wants a tax cut of $726 billion, but Snowe and Republican Sen. George Voinovich of Ohio refused to support tax cuts of more than $350 billion, effectively blocking passage in the closely divided Senate of any higher amount.

“Not only is this a defeat for the president, it is a defeat for the Republican Party,” said Stephen Moore, president of Club For Growth, which will start airing the ads April 19.

Congress last week approved the blueprint for the $2.27 trillion federal budget allowing for a tax cut of $550 billion. But the Senate approved the bill only after Snowe and Voinovich were promised that the tax cut would not exceed $350 billion.

Republican Rep. Amo Houghton of New York voted against the measure in the House.

Moore compared Snowe, Voinovich and Houghton to the countries that refused to support military action in Iraq.

“Why are his so-called allies in the House and Senate so eager to impede economic progress? These ‘Franco Republicans’ are as dependable as France was in taking down Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein,” Moore said.

Dave Lackey, a spokesman from Snowe’s office, said the senator has been working for a tax cut that will spur the economy without causing large budget deficits.

The group also will air ads in Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio, and Elmira, N.Y.

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