The nation’s sharp disagreements over taxes and spending are on a re-routed collision course, as Senate Democrats launch a plan that includes new taxes and House Republicans vow to speed up their plan to balance the federal budget with spending cuts alone.
The Republicans’ new approach would require even deeper cuts in social programs than they pushed last year. Liberals denounced those earlier plans as severe and unfair, and they say the new version would be worse.
The new commitments by House and Senate members stem from the ongoing dispute over raising the federal debt ceiling. The House voted Wednesday to postpone any showdown over the borrowing limit for three months. The Democratic-led Senate plans to endorse the idea, which the White House also supports.
That means the next big budget clash will occur in March. That’s when major, across-the-board spending cuts – both parties dislike them – are scheduled to begin unless they are replaced by a different deficit-cutting technique.
It’s possible that both parties will continue to find ways to postpone and minimize tough decisions on taming the deficit. But the new House and Senate endeavors could make such dodges more difficult. Voters, meanwhile, may get a clearer picture of the unpleasant choices they face.
CONTINUED at the Huffington Post.