Democrats’ budget plan seeks $1.5 trillion tax hike, plus 10-year spending boost

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
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The 10-year budget plan drafted by Senate Democrats includes a $1.5 trillion tax-hike, according to GOP staffers who combed through the long document as soon as it was released.

The “budget would raise taxes on Americans by $1.5 trillion to pay for increased spending … on top of the $1.7 trillion in tax increases already signed into law during the Obama administration,” said a statement from Sen. John Thune, the chairman of the Senate Republican Conference.

“The policies of big spending and big government have led to a dismal average economic growth rate of just 0.8 percent over the past four years. It’s time to grow the economy, not the government,” he added.

President Barack Obama quickly endorsed the plan, which will help him continue an aggressive public-relations campaign against GOP budget maven, Rep. Paul Ryan, and his budget plan, in the long run-up to the 2014 mid-term election. (RELATED: Obama slams Ryan’s proposal)

“Republicans and Democrats have now put their plans on the table … the [p]resident looks forward to seeking compromise and common ground with Congress,” said a White House statement.

“The Senate Democratic budget is a concrete plan that will grow our economy and shrink our deficits in a balanced way, consistent with the [p]resident’s belief that our economy grows best from the middle-out, not the top-down, while reducing the debt as a share of the economy,” said the statement.

Democrats had claimed the “Foundation For Growth” bill, developed by Sen. Patty Murray, included only $975 billion in new taxes over 10 years.

But the GOP staffers found an additional $100 billion “reserve fund” tax, and a statement declaring that “this budget replaces sequestration using … $480 billion in new revenue raised by closing loopholes.”

GOP analysts say the plan would also boost federal spending by $162 billion in 2014, beyond 2013’s spending of $3.8 trillion. It would also increase cumulative 10-year spending by $645 billion, rather that trim federal budgets, they calculate.

In contrast, the White House says the plan cuts spending.

“This budget makes tough spending cuts and leaves no sacred cows,” said the White House statement, which also endorsed the plan’s tax increases.

The plan “makes sure that seniors and the middle class aren’t forced to bear the full burden of deficit reduction by eliminating wasteful loopholes through tax reform,  so that the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share,” it said.

Democrats argue that government spending will stimulate economic growth and company hiring.

GOP legislators say the economy will restart when government allows companies to cut costs, take risks and earn profits.

Sen. Jeff Sessions, the senior Republican on Murray’s budget committee, pitched a slower-growing, economy-boosting budget plan that would help people manage their own lives.

“We need to grow the economy, not the government,” he said in a statement. “We must act to create more jobs and better pay. And we can do it without adding to the debt,” he said, before ticking off a series of optimist-sounding measures.

“Pro-growth tax reform, more domestic energy production, make the welfare office a place to restart lives … enforce immigration law to ensure fairness for American workers, eliminate every burdensome federal regulation that isn’t needed and that destroys jobs [and] balance the federal budget,” Sessions said in a press statement.

The GOP’s main budget plan has been developed by Ryan, the chairman of the House budget committee.

Ryan describes his budget as a cautious slowdown in federal spending that would trim $5.7 million from the current 10-year $46 trillion plan.

“On the current path, we’ll spend $46 trillion over the next 10 years [but] under our proposal, we’ll spend $41 trillion,” he said in a recent Wall Street Journal article. “On the current path, spending will increase by 5 percent each year. Under our proposal, it will increase by 3.4 percent.”

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