Exclusive: Democrats seek up to $3 trillion in budget savings
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democrats are proposing $2.5 trillion to $3 trillion in measures to reduce the budget deficit, including revenue increases and significant cuts to Medicare, congressional aides told Reuters.
The plan was unveiled on Tuesday at a closed-door meeting of a special 12-member congressional panel, the so-called "super committee" that is tasked with finding at least $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction over 10 years.
It was the first formal proposal by Democrats on the committee and is aimed at galvanizing talks that are quickly running up against a November 23 deadline.
The congressional aides did not say why Democrats were proposing such a big deal, but Democratic congressional leaders have repeatedly called on the committee to go beyond its mandate to fix the country's fiscal mess.
According to congressional sources, the plan includes a roughly equal mix of spending cuts and revenue increases; between $200 billion and $300 billion in new economic stimulus spending that would be paid for with lower interest payments from reducing deficits; and around $400 billion in Medicare savings, with half coming in benefit cuts and the other half in cuts to healthcare providers.
While sources portrayed the proposal as a Democratic plan, they also noted that at least one Democrat on the super committee, Representative James Clyburn, had reservations about the move to cut Medicare spending.
One of the congressional sources said Republicans on the committee did not react favorably to the Democratic plan.
Republicans have long been opposed to more economic stimulus spending and increasing revenues in deficit-reduction efforts.
(Editing by Sandra Maler)