US Congress takes up 2010 budgetApril 2nd, 2009 - 6:51 am ICT by IANS
Washington, April 2 (DPA) With the US House of Representatives preparing to vote Thursday on President Barack Obama’s 2010 budget proposal, Republican lawmakers have presented an alternative spending plan that they argued cuts the deficit while still reviving the economy.
The Republican alternative, put forward in the House of Representatives, has little chance of becoming law as Democrats hold a sizeable majority in both chambers of Congress. But the versions offer insights into the parties’ sharply differing ideologies and answers to the economic crisis.
Democrats promise middle-class tax cuts and spending on education, energy and health care. The Republicans countered with tax cuts across the board, incentives for business and a spending freeze over the next five years in all areas except defence.
Obama’s $3.6-trillion budget plan for 2010, which has been tweaked slightly by his fellow Democrats in Congress, is set to be voted on by the House Thursday, according to speaker Nancy Pelosi. The Senate is expected to vote by the end of the week.
“Americans understand that we cannot afford to repeat the mistakes of the past eight years,” Pelosi said. “Republicans would halt our economic recovery in its tracks.”
The Democrats’ plan raises the federal budget deficit for 2010 to more than 13 percent of gross domestic product, something Obama has argued is necessary to pull the US out of a deep recession.
The Republican group argued that their brand of tax cuts would create more jobs while slashing nearly $800 billion from Obama’s 2010 budget, in large part by cutting the massive $787-billion stimulus plan adopted by Congress earlier this year aimed at kickstarting the US economy.
“The budget that we have before the Congress spends too much, it taxes too much, and it borrows too much from our kids and grandkids,” said John Boehner, the top Republican in the House. “Republicans in the House will offer a better solution.”
The Republicans’ rival plan also promised to keep a series of tax cuts put in place by former president George W. Bush in 2001 and 2003. Obama has pledged to allow the tax cuts to expire in 2010 for wealthy workers making more than $250,000 per year.
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