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Senate Democrats unveil plan to avert broad spending cuts

By The Associated Press

This article was published February 11, 2013 at 6:34 p.m.

— Senate Democratic leaders are closing in on a $120 billion package of tax increases on the affluent and targeted spending cuts that they say would be large enough to put off looming, across-the-board spending cuts to defense and domestic programs for 10 months.

The package combines a new 30-percent minimum tax rate for income over $1 million with new limits on tax incentives for retirement once retirement saving reaches a certain level. The legislation would also eliminate some subsidies to agribusinesses and retain some targeted defense cuts, according to aides familiar with the plan, which they emphasized could still be changed. Senate Democrats will hash over the package Tuesday, hoping to formally unveil their plan to put off the automatic cuts by Thursday, just two weeks before cuts of 6 to 9 percent kick in March 1.

Congressional Republican leaders have said they will not accept any tax increases to shut off the so-called sequester, which would cut spending by close to $1 trillion over 10 years. Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, said Monday that the Democratic plan was designed to fail as a precursor to an onslaught of attacks from President Barack Obama designed to pin the cuts on Republicans.

“The time has come to finally take on Washington’s spending problem in a bipartisan way, and that means the president will actually have to move beyond the gimmicks and the taxes and propose real spending cuts,” McConnell said on the Senate floor, “because, I assure you, my constituents in Kentucky will not accept a tax hike in place of spending cuts already agreed to by both parties — I suspect none of our constituents would.”

The Democratic leadership package is considerably more restrained than what many liberals wanted. On Monday, Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., introduced a more sweeping sequester-replacement bill that would close corporate tax loopholes worth more than twice the tax measures in the leadership plan.

Senate Democratic leaders also dropped plans to include provisions ending tax breaks for oil and gas companies. Aides familiar with the package said those provisions would divide Democrats, including Sens. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Mark Begich of Alaska, both of whom are running for re-election next year in states heavily dependent on oil exploration.

Comments on: Senate Democrats unveil plan to avert broad spending cuts

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DontDrinkDatKoolAid says... February 11, 2013 at 7:51 p.m.

For 10 months coverage? How Lame!

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HalALouyah says... February 11, 2013 at 9:25 p.m.

Populist and inquire you need to read this last paragraph and OWN IT. This hypocrisy from the Democrats to protect their own while railing on a steel mill is despicable. Furthermore we need to let these cuts happen and let the chips fall where they may. One tax hike already and let's go for another instead of cutting spending. The craziest thing I see is the fact that the Democrats are stupid enough to think another tax increase on many business owners will hurt the 1% and benefit the 99%. Whose money do you think the business owner will protect first? This is going to be a self fulfilling prophecy.

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DontDrinkDatKoolAid says... February 12, 2013 at 4:49 a.m.

This self fulfilling prophecy will not come soon enough.

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aimee says... February 12, 2013 at 5:23 p.m.

Maddjack:
.
It's all explained in terms of an allegory about the Wild West:
.
"Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid plays a Nevada buckaroo ranch foreman charged with driving the House Republicans back to the Oval Office corral for deficit talks with President Barack Obama."
.
com/story/2013/02/reids-strategy-herd-gop-into-corral-before-sequester-87489.html#ixzz2KjJ2WMqS

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aimee says... February 12, 2013 at 5:24 p.m.

Sorry...
.
politico. com/story/2013/02/reids-strategy-herd-gop-into-corral-before-sequester-87489.html

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DontDrinkDatKoolAid says... February 12, 2013 at 5:43 p.m.

Harry Reid needs to also corral some Dems also. Thus no change to be seen.

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aimee says... February 12, 2013 at 9:59 p.m.

Maddjack:
.
You think Democrats don't want a deal?

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DontDrinkDatKoolAid says... February 12, 2013 at 11:12 p.m.

This "sequester" is what Congress voted for and Obama signed into law. Let us all live with it, for it is the only way spending will be cut!

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aimee says... February 13, 2013 at 1:33 p.m.

So, just cut spending... No need to raise revenue, eh..???
.
When people don't have enough to live on, they should just cut out their food and medications, get rid of the car, let the house get cold, etc... No thought of trying to get an extra job.....you know.....MORE revenue..???

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DontDrinkDatKoolAid says... February 13, 2013 at 8:56 p.m.

Obama already got his revenue increase in the beginning of this year. So, cutting spending is next. Eh..???

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