Tags: house | senate | work | restore | budget

House, Senate Work to Restore Regular Budget Process

Tuesday, 12 Mar 2013 09:34 AM

By Cyrus Afzali

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The House and Senate this week are working toward separate spending proposals that both parties hope will mark a new way forward in budget negotiations that will end the deadline-crisis approach to funding the federal government.

As The New York Times reported Tuesday, Senate Democrats are currently finishing a long-term budget plan they hope to introduce on Wednesday, which would be their first in four years. Meanwhile, House Republicans plan to introduce their own budget Tuesday morning.

The two proposals, which will lay out immediate spending targets for the next fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, are expected to be substantially different and will require much work in conference to merge into a single, workable budget, the Times noted.

Democrats favor closing tax loopholes benefiting corporations and the wealthy to generate new revenue, while Republican efforts center on more spending reductions aimed at reducing the deficit to arrive at a balanced budget within 10 years.

Both sides are hoping the fact that the two chambers are working on budgets at the same time will lead to a compromise that Republicans and Democrats can live with and sell to their various constituencies.

Just as House Republicans have battled ideological divides, Senate Democrats also face a diverse membership, making it uncertain that a majority will vote for a particular plan. It’s that very diversity that has kept Senate Democrats from writing a spending plan since 2009, as members have often disagreed on how to fund specific programs or which tax loopholes to close, the Times reported.

In an effort to influence a successful compromise, President Barack Obama has planned four meetings with Democratic and Republican conferences from both chambers, the first beginning today on Capitol Hill.

As the same time, the Senate Appropriations Committee is expected to unveil a stopgap spending plan today that will finance government operations through September, something the House did last week.

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