ByÂ Sean Lengell-The Washington Times
House Republicans are prepared for a Tuesday vote on their signature debt-reduction plan that calls for a balanced-budget constitutional amendment, despite Democratic opposition and aÂ White House veto threat.
Meanwhile,Â Senate party leaders said Monday they will keep their members in session every day – including weekends – until they agree to a compromise to increase the nationâ€™s $14.29 trillion debt ceiling.
TheÂ House Republicansâ€™ â€œcut, cap and balanceâ€ plan would raise the debt ceiling $2.4 trillion, but only after significant and immediate spending cuts and the adoption byÂ Congress of a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced federal budget.
The plan proposes $111 billion in cuts to the $3.6 trillion the federal government is projected to spend next year. About two-thirds of the cuts would come from department and agency budgets, with about one-third from automatically paid benefits – thoughÂ Congress would have discretion on which programs to cut. Spending for defense, homeland security, military veterans,Â Medicare and Social Security would be exempted from the cuts.
The plan calls for a gradual decrease, or â€œcap,â€ in federal spending during the next decade – from 22.5 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) next year to 19.9 percent in 2021.
The measure also would requireÂ Congress to balance the federal budget every year, permanently cap government spending at 18 percent of GDP after a phase-in period and require a two-thirds vote of theÂ House andSenate to increase taxes.
The Republicansâ€™ proposed $2.4 trillion increase in the debt ceiling is far less than the $4 trillion hike pushed by the administration.
White House press secretaryÂ Jay Carney derisively referred to theHouseGOP plan as â€œduck, dodge and dismantle,â€ saying it would lead to cuts in entitlement programs for seniors, middle-income Americans and the nationâ€™s most vulnerable.
â€œWhat we are witnessing here with this measure is classic Washington posturing – Kabuki theater,â€ saidÂ White House Press SecretaryÂ Jay Carney during his Monday briefing with reporters. â€œIt would essentially require the dismantlement of our social safety net – Social Security,Medicare and Medicaid.â€
â€œThis unfortunate veto threat should make clear that the issue is not congressional inaction, but rather the presidentâ€™s unwillingness to cut spending and restrain the future growth of our government,â€ the Ohio Republican said.
To read more, visit:Â http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/jul/18/house-gop-readies-cut-cap-balance-plan/
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