Image: Democrats Hope to Move Long-Overdue Budget by Easter Break

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., Budget Committee Chairwoman, hopes budget legislation will be out of committee by Thursday, March 14. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Democrats Hope to Move Long-Overdue Budget by Easter Break

Monday, 11 Mar 2013 11:54 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Senate Democratic leaders are hoping to pass their first budget in four years before the Easter recess begins on March 22, but disputes over spending reductions, tax cuts, and more are proving to be big challenges that could lead to last-minute defections.

According to The Hill newspaper, Democrats are worried about a number of scenarios that could kill the effort in the Senate Budget Committee, even though they hold a 12-10 majority, or on the floor, where a defection of five of the 55 seats they control could kill the measure.

Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray hopes to have the legislation through committee by Thursday. But she and her colleagues want a budget that would cover 10 years and possibly contain more proposals to raise revenue than cut spending.

According to The Hill, Murray provides justification for a revenue-heavy proposal in a memo to colleagues, noting that Congress has already approved $1.8 trillion in spending cuts compared to $600 billion in new taxes.

Democrats also appear to be less concerned about advocating more tax revenues in the past, given the fact that President Barack Obama won a second term by pushing for higher taxes on the wealthy and closing corporate loopholes.

Even conservative Democrats from red states are less nervous now about calling for more revenue, The Hill reported, citing Democratic leadership aides.

“The 2012 election showed that being in favor of revenue does not tar and feather you as a tax-and-spend liberal,” one aide told the newspaper.

“We are on the offensive. A couple of years ago [we] may have felt more on the defensive about the budget,” another aide said.

Murray's bill, though, could face challenges among more conservative Democrats as well as Republicans, especially if it raises taxes but does not cut spending enough to help reduce the deficit.

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