WASHINGTON,DC (WUSA) --- Senate Democrats Thursday offered a plan to avoid harsh across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration. The plan offers $120 billion in deficit reduction, split between new revenues and spending cuts, largely in farm subsidies.
The spending cuts would be split between defense and non-defense programs.
"The Democratic plan is we should avoid the sequester cuts because they are ugly they are non-strategic. They'll hurt the economy. They'll hurt defense. They'll hurt key priorities.
"So, here's how we avoid it. We come up with a short-term proposal over the course of the next 10 months, from now to the start of the calendar year to reduce the deficit by about $120 billion dollars.
"We make that reduction equally split between more revenues and finding targeted cuts, rather than the ugly cuts that are in the sequester.
"By doing this over the course of 10 months, we're writing budgets, both houses are writing budgets right now. We get a fiscal year 2014 budget. In that budget process we find long-term reductions in expenses, long term revenues and long-term deficit reduction and then we just let our budget drive the right policy going forward.
"So, it's a short term effort to do deficit reduction but get back to the practice of budgets. That's the only way we're going to fix this problem," said Virginia's Democratic Senator Tim Kaine.
And where does the new tax revenue come from?
"On the revenue side, the Buffet Rule, which had been debated, included, in early presidential budgets to make sure that folks who are making money at the very
top end are not paying a smaller portion of their income in income taxes than folks who are working in their offices as custodians and secretaries," Kaine told WUSA-9.
Republican House Speaker John Boehner is quoted as saying that the president got his revenue increase earlier this year and that Republicans will not allow new taxes.
"Democrats could say we've cut spending and we're not going to cut anymore.
"If Republicans say there will never be another dollar in revenue, and Democrats say there will be another dollar of cuts, then we are not going to solve the problem," Kaine said.
The Democrats' plan was not well received at the conservative group FreedomWorks.
"It's another way for Washington to kick the can down the road, It's funny. Every time Washington is just about to cut spending, somebody wants to postpone it and raise taxes.
"This is not a good time to raise taxes. We're $16 trillion in debt. We have a trillion dollar deficit. We have historically high unemployment, and a month after the largest tax hike in generations they're talking about another tax increase?" asked FreedomWorks Vice-president Dean Clancy.
"The nation needs to be getting its fiscal house in order or we're going to be spending a lot more on higher interest rates when we get our credit down-rated again.
"We need to tighten our belts and everyone needs to pitch in because, if we don't, the whole country is going to pay in higher interest rates and a worse economy.
"We've got to get this economy turned around and raising taxes in the worst possible way to do it," Clancy told WUSA-9.