Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Senate Democrats release first budget in four years, includes $1 trillion in tax increases

The Senate on Wednesday presented its first budget in four years, a proposal by leaders of the Democrat-controlled chamber that calls for nearly $1 trillion in tax increases but includes no strategy to make federal revenue match spending in the coming years.
The plan calls for $975 billion in new tax revenue through closing loopholes and ending deductions and credits benefiting corporations and the country’s highest wage earners.
It also calls for $100 billion in new stimulus spending while cutting $1.85 trillion from the deficit over 10 years. The rest of the savings would come through spending cuts. 
Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray said the budget takes a balanced, “pro-middle-class” approach and argued the country’s economic problems started long before fellow Democrats entered the White House in 2009.
 “Despite some of the rhetoric you may hear from my Republican colleagues, the Great Recession didn’t start the day President Obama was elected,” said Murray, D-Wash.
The plan also calls for replacing the recent, $85 billion in spending cuts with more measured cuts.
Committee members will begin voting and submitting amendments Thursday, with a full Senate vote expected by next week.
Alabama Sen. Jeff Session, the committee’s ranking Republican, immediately criticized the proposal.
“It’s anything but balanced,” he said. “Raising taxes and spending is anything but balanced.”
The budget was presented one day after the Republican-controlled House rolled out its fiscal 2014 budget -- a plan to balance the budget in 10 years largely by slowing the rate of spending and adding in the roughly $600 billion in tax increases Democrats got in January.
The upper chamber announced the details as President Obama met with House Republicans.
Obama said after the meeting that it was "good” and “useful."
However, the recent optimism about Democrats and Republicans perhaps agreeing on a mix of tax increases and spending cuts to craft a single budget – or a so-called “grand bargain” – appears to be fading.
"Ultimately, it may be that the differences are just too wide," the president told ABC before going to Capitol Hill.

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