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U.S. Senate Democrats offer budget plan with tax increases and spending cuts


08:02, March 14, 2013

WASHINGTON, March 13 (Xinhua)-- U.S. Senate Democrats on Wednesday unveiled their budget blueprint for the new fiscal year starting October 1, a competing version to the House GOP plan and the first budget in the Senate in four years.

The plan, presented by Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murry, would seek 975 billion dollars in spending cuts over the next decade and roughly the same amount of new tax revenues.

The blueprint also proposed a 100 billion dollars stimulus package which would fund infrastructure projects and education programs.

In contrast with the House GOP budget, the Senate plan will not balance the budget but will put the deficit on a sustainable path.

At the markup of the plan among her Senate colleagues, Murry said the highest priority of her budget is to create the conditions for job creation, economic growth, and prosperity built from the middle out, not the top down.

"Our budget is built on three principles: Number one, we need to protect our fragile economic recovery, create jobs, and invest in long-term growth. Number two, we need to tackle our deficit and debt fairly and responsibly. And number three, we need to keep the promises we've made as a nation to our seniors, our families, and our communities," Murry stated.

Her comments to some extent echoed the President Barack Obama's position. He told House Republicans Wednesday that his priority is to prevent an economic slowdown, but not a 10-year balanced budget.

The House GOP plan, put forth by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan on Tuesday, revived some controversial issues in the budget battle. It pledged to wipe out budget deficits by 2023 without raising taxes. It called for a repeal of Obama's signature healthcare law, overhauls of Medicare and Medicaid, and consolidation of tax rates into two of 10 percent and 25 percent.

As was the case last year, Ryan proposed to partly privatize Medicare, and convert Medicaid and food stamps programs into block grants.

The Senate Budget Committee is scheduled to vote on Murry's plan Thursday, followed by a floor debate next week. Ryan also prepares for a vote on his budget in committee this week before moves it to the full House next week.

The U.S. Congress acted earlier this year to extend the debt limit through mid-May. It also set a deadline for the House and Senate to pass a formal budget.

"I am hopeful that the House of Representatives will join us at the bargaining table and we can work together toward the responsible and bipartisan budget deal the American people expect and deserve," Murry said.

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