Cap Hill Democrats suggest broadening budget cuts to subsidies, entitlements

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The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Senate Democratic leaders are proposing broadening budget cuts into the “more politically volatile terrain” of subsidies and entitlement programs to break an impasse over Republican proposals. Recommendations from the two parties on the fiscal 2011 Continuing Resolution are $50 billion apart. Reductions in the GOP version include zeroing out CPB’s $460 million appropriation (Current, March 7, 2011). The paper notes that this change in Democratic strategy could mark a major shift in the budget battle. Up until now, debate has focused strictly on discretionary programs controlled by annual appropriations, a tiny amount of total federal spending. Most of the rest of the budget consists of mandatory spending such as Medicare and Social Security. So far, Republicans “reacted coolly” to the Democratic suggestion, the paper says.

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