WASHINGTON Jan 20 A senior U.S. lawmaker said
on Sunday that he and fellow Senate Democrats, for the first
time more than in three years, intend to meet Republican demands
to finally pass a U.S. budget.
Senator Charles Schumer, the chamber's No. 3 Democrat, said,
however, that the spending plan will include proposed new
revenue despite Republican warnings that they won't go along
with more any tax hikes.
"We're going to do a budget this year and it is going to
have revenue in it, and Republicans ought to get used to that,"
Schumer told NBC's "Meet the Press."
President Barack Obama's Democrats control the Senate, but
haven't passed a budget since 2010 amid disagreements within the
party over possible spending cuts, particularly in entitlement
programs like Medicare and Social Security.
This has drawn the ire of Republicans who accuse them of a
dereliction of duty that has undermined efforts to reduce
spending and the U.S. debt.
Washington is expected to meet the limits of its $16.4
trillion borrowing power by early March, and lifting the debt
ceiling will allow the federal government to continue its work
Republican leaders in the House of Representatives, in a
major concession on Friday, said they would be willing to raise
the debt limit for three months and, at the same time, drop
their demand that any increase in the government's borrowing
power be matched in spending cuts.
Republicans said, however, they would require the Senate to
finally pass a budget that could include spending reductions as
well as changes in the tax code.
Republican Senator Ted Cruz, appearing on NBC with Schumer,
called the House Republican plan "a step in the right direction"
and accused the Democratic Senate of not doing its jobs.
Schumer called the House Republican offer "a major victory"
for Obama, who has vowed to refuse to negotiate on the debt
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has said he is
ready to focus on spending cuts in any budget negotiations, but
considers tax hikes a closed matter. The White House had said it
would accept the three-month plan so long as was not conditioned
on spending cuts.
After the deadline for a debt ceiling increase, Congress
faces a March 1 deadline to avert automatic spending cuts, and
the March 27 expiration of funding for government agencies and
programs. A three-month debt limit extension would add a further
deadline in April or May.
The recent, separate deal between Congress and the White
House to avert "the fiscal cliff" of automatic tax increases on
most Americans and broad spending cuts effectively imposed a tax
hike on many of the wealthiest Americans.
It renewed most tax cuts enacted by Republican President
George W. Bush for most Americans, but allowed those tax cuts on
families with incomes of more than $450,000 to expire.